One pressing issue in western North Carolina for many years, has been and continues to be, access to affordable housing. In the last 180 days (May-July, 2018), the highest amount of inquiries to our NC 2-1-1 call center were related to affordable housing and shelter, with 2,429 calls received during that time period, according to NC2-1-1 Counts.
This year, because of the generosity of people like you, we were able to invest $168,064 from our Community Fund to support low-income households in having increased options for affordable and safe housing right here in Buncombe County. This comes from an overall $462,806 budget earmarked toward addressing financial stability and independence, including investments in programs aimed at increasing literacy skills, growing living wage income for local families, and support for those living in crisis situations.
One way that we help reduce the impact of poverty and fight for the education, financial stability and health/wellbeing of our community, is by funding key community partners who we’ve identified as working to address inequities in these vital areas in forward-thinking ways--tackling the systemic nature of the issue at hand rather than offering a band-aid solution. In order to address increased affordable and safe housing options specifically, we’ve allocated funds to help support the work of several community nonprofits, including Pisgah Legal, Mountain Housing Opportunities, and Homeward Bound of WNC.
Statistics of Inequity
Earlier this year the Buncombe County Data Card from NC Child revealed that 46% of Buncombe County children live in poor or near-poor homes, a major risk factor for negative educational, health, and economic outcomes in the future. Pisgah Legal recently shared with WLOS in their article ‘Cost of Growth: Why Local Organization’s Cannot Fix Asheville’s Affordable Housing Gap’ that last year alone they helped 2,610 people find a safe place to live. With a recently passed $25 million bond, the city of Asheville is hopeful for reasonably priced homes in Asheville’s future.
Paul D'Angelo, city of Asheville housing development specialist, shared with WLOS that "Fifteen million dollars is looking at some high-impact sites where we can put some affordable units, making sure it's the highest and best use of that land with affordable units.” Read the full article on Cost of Growth: How Asheville is working to fix the housing crisis, here.
Local Programs Working to Address Asheville’s Housing Crisis:
- Pisgah Legal provides legal aid to Prevent eviction and foreclosure, including mobile home parks, improve substandard housing conditions, obtain or preserve eligibility for housing subsidies, help with discrimination and disability accommodations, and provide protection for seniors, veterans, people living with HIV/AIDS. Call PLS at (828) 253-0406 or toll-free at (800) 489-6144 to apply for services or learn more about the work of Pisgah Legal HERE.
- Mountain Housing Opportunities provides Emergency Housing Repair. You may be eligible for the program if you are elderly, disabled, a single parent, or a family with three or more dependent children. Learn more about Mountain Housing Opportunities Emergency Home Repair program HERE.
- The Asheville Housing Authority provides affordable housing to households at 50% of the Area median Income and below( $21,500 for a single person; $30,650 for a family of four), however, there is a “extensive waiting period to receive housing” according to Asheville Housing Authority.
- AVL Today shares a great run-down of who qualifies and how to apply in their recent article ‘Everything you need to know about affordable housing in Asheville.’
A Call to Action:
Donate today to and you will connect people to the health and human resources they need - 24/7, you will mobilize thousands of volunteers every year, you will build hubs of resources that support students and their families and you will fund high quality programs that are providing solutions to a wide range of issues, including housing in Asheville and Buncombe County.
Find a volunteer opportunity to support those experiencing homelessness. Homeward Bound of WNC has several opportunities available through Hands On Asheville-Buncombe.
Attend Pisgah Legal’s upcoming 8th Annual Poverty Forum, Making Ends Meet: Women and Poverty in WNC with Kathryn Edin, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America." on Oct. 4th.
Become further involved in one of our Leadership Giving groups. Learn more how you can become more deeply involved in the work of United Way.