As the temperature rises, so do reports of illegal camping in Asheville. Many of these campers are experiencing some level of homelessness.
In addressing the problem of illegal camping, the Asheville Police Department and the Asheville/Buncombe Homeless Initiative is partnering with service providers to make sure people in the camps are informed about local options like the VA Medical Center, ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters and A HOPE. The following video, “Reaching Out Together,” highlights a push to reinforce the relationships between the homeless, local service providers and police.
Camping on public property is illegal and a problem from the aspects of both health and public safety. Camping on private property without consent of the property owner is also illegal. When complaints are received from the community, APD gives campers a seven-day notice to pack up their camps. The notification includes contact information to help people get in touch with available service providers.
“We don’t want to go in there and just kick someone out. The overall goal shifts from plain enforcement to letting them know what the available resources are,” said APD Officer Jackie Stepp. “And that we want to see them get off the streets. I think most people appreciate that approach.”
In the video, APD officers, ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters, AHOPE and City of Asheville representatives visit illegal camps to find common solutions that work for groups that are often perceived as being at opposing ends of the homelessness issue.
Click here to see more videos on the City of Asheville’s YouTube channel.