The City of Asheville will use funding support from Dogwood Health Trust to support people experiencing homelessness. At their Feb. 23 meeting, City Council voted to add the $50,000 donation for Code Purple shelter funding.
Code Purple is a longstanding practice where homeless shelter providers exceed regular capacity and waive regular rules on nights when the temperature or windchill are at/below 32 degrees in order to ensure survival of people experiencing homelessness. It’s a community-led initiative coordinated by agencies in the Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Coalition.
But COVID-19 has created many logistical challenges for homeless service providers. Because of these extraordinary circumstances, Western Carolina Rescue Ministries agreed to operate Code Purple in an off-site location by providing up to 50 Code Purple beds at First Congregational United Church of Christ during the month of December. Funding for this first month of operations came from Coronavirus Relief Funding (CRF) previously approved by City Council.
Since operations began Dec. 1, Code Purple has provided 1,713 stays to 318 unduplicated people, getting them out of the extreme cold to the safety of shelter.
On Jan. 12, City Council ratified a new agreement with Western Carolina Rescue Ministries to continue providing Code Purple shelter. Funds for this contract were provided by $40,000 in City funding previously approved to support affordable housing and $40,000 in funding from Buncombe County.
The additional $50,000 in funding approved by Council Feb. 23 is designed to ensure continuation of Code Purple for the remainder of the winter season.
“Crisis services like Code Purple are essential while we work to get people into permanent housing,” said City Homeless Services System Performance Lead Emily Ball. “We’re so grateful to Dogwood and all of the partners involved for supporting this critical part of our community’s response to homelessness.”
Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina private foundation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust was created from the net proceeds of the sale of Mission Hospital and focuses on innovative ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness. To learn more, please visit https://dogwoodhealthtrust.org.
This action supports Council’s stated strategic priorities of a connected and engaged community, a financially resilient city and a well-planned and livable community.
Find a copy of the staff report to Council and funding resolution at this link.