Homeless Initiative

homeless initiative logo

The 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness and beyond

The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness was adopted as a guiding document in January 2005 and ended in December 2015. The Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Initiative has completed a Five Year Strategic Plan to address the issues of homelessness in Buncombe County; the plan was adopted unanimously by Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners in the spring of 2017. The plan sets annual goals that target the needs of specific sub-populations and ensures that emerging trends and best practices are integrated within the plan’s strategies over the next five years. The Strategic Plan will continue to emphasize public-private partnership opportunities to increase the affordable housing supply and to decrease the many barriers homeless individuals and families face in accessing safe, stable, and affordable housing in the community. 

The Homeless Initiative values community involvement, collaboration, inclusive and creative problem solving.  With that foundation of values, the community can come together to evaluate and implement best practices for supporting people who are seeking stable housing. Through this process, the community can report and evaluate outcomes, highlight best practices, and identify new resources, which results in a strengthened homeless service system for the whole community and ultimately reduces the number of people who experience homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County.

If you need assistance connecting to community resources call (828) 252-HELP (4357) or dial 2-1-1 or contact online at NC 2-1-1

Explore the Dashboard

Click here to view the dashboard, which uses visualizations to provide a fuller picture of homelessness in the region.

Link to Homeless Data dashboard

Why do people fall into homelessness?

Homelessness is a complex issue, so the specific causes of homelessness for one person may not be the same for another homeless person. Research shows that affordable housing is the common factor of homelessness - people are homeless because they cannot find housing which they can afford. Those who pay 30% or more of their monthly income are considered "cost-burdened,"  which means they have a hard time affording other necessities in life.

Homelessness across America

International Council on Ending Homelessness (www.usich.gov): On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before. In releasing HUD's latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan cited as hopeful that even during historic and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.

Housing First

The Housing First Model seeks to assist persons to exit homelessness as quickly as possible by placing them in permanent housing and linking them to needed services. This approach assumes that the factors that have contributed to a household's homelessness can be remedied once the household is housed rather than in emergency shelters or transitional settings. It also accepts that for some, lifelong support may be required to prevent the reoccurrences of homelessness. Hence, it seeks to maximize utilization of mainstream resources.

Ending Homelessness is possible!

Ending homelessness means providing housing and support for those experiencing homelessness as quickly as possible. Instead of using resources solely for emergency services, resources can be focused towards prevention and housing. In that way, the community's efforts and money can keep people in housing during a crisis, so that they don't fall into homelessness, and provide support for those who were living on the street, so they can maintain their housing.


Brian Huskey
CD Analyst-Homeless Lead
City of Asheville
P.O. Box 7148
Asheville, NC 28802
(828) 251-4048