The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) has concluded their study of unsheltered homelessness in the Asheville area. Based on needs identified through stakeholder interviews, surveys and data collection conducted in summer 2022, the NAEH has drafted recommendations which will be presented to the community during a joint meeting of Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission on Wednesday, January 25 from 1 – 4 p.m. in the Banquet Hall at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
The study, which was funded by the Dogwood Health Trust, resulted in a set of recommendations that aim to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 50 percent in the next two years. At the joint meeting on January 25, elected officials and community members will hear the NAEH’s recommendations for the priorities, strategies and tasks to guide the work of local service providers and the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee, which oversees the local Continuum of Care.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) is a federal framework that establishes a local planning body responsible for coordinating a system of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness to collectively achieve the goal of reducing homelessness within a defined geographic area. The CoC has three components: a leadership board that makes system-level decisions and sets strategies, policies, and funding priorities; a membership body of stakeholders actively working to implement strategies as a unified system of care; and a Collaborative Applicant designated to provide infrastructure and administrative support, including facilitating access to federal funding for homeless and housing programs.
“The report from NAEH gives us a roadmap for building a system of care to address the immediate crisis in our community and establish a structure we can use on an ongoing basis to respond when people lose housing and need support,” said Emily Ball, Homeless Strategy Division Manager for the City of Asheville. “The Alliance is a national leader in the field of ending homelessness and brings extensive experience relevant to this project, including work in other communities in North Carolina.”
The NAEH report recommendations were formed through an analysis of the available local homelessness data, combined with community surveys, listening sessions, and focus groups. Participants included those leading the local homeless sector, front line providers, people with lived experience of homelessness, advocates, neighborhood associations, and members of the business and faith-based communities.
To view the full report, visit https://www.ashevillenc.gov/projects/understanding-unsheltered-homelessness/