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Sheltered homeless declines in Asheville, but unsheltered rising, recent count shows
Thursday, 25 May 2023 21:52

From Staff Reports 

The recently unveiled local 2023 Point-In-Time Count unveiled on May 11 shows that the number of  homeless people in Asheville and Buncombe County who are sheltered is decreasing, while the number of those who are unsheltered continues to increase.

Overall, the count indicated that there are 573 people who are homeless in Asheville and Buncombe. The count also showed that 402 people are sheltered and 171 people are unsheltered.

“While that is a decrease from the PIT count in 2022, the concern lies in the number of unsheltered people continuously increasing since the COVID pandemic,” Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) noted in a May 11 report. “In 2020, there were 65 unsheltered people compared to this year’s 171.”

What’s more, given what News 13 described as “ significantly high number of unsheltered people, Buncombe County is looking to hire a homelessness program manager.”

The position was created and approved by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in March and the newly created job resulted from a recommendation from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Matthew Cable, the county’s community development division manager, said.

“They had recommended that we actually add a staff person that would be dedicated to addressing homelessness issues in our community,” Cable was quoted as saying by News 13.

Further, News 13 noted, “Cable said that the role will be to serve as a resource coordinator and bolster the county’s efforts in addressing homelessness.

“He said the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee has continued to evolve since the alliance’s study. Because of that, Cable said the level of investment by the city and county has increased.

“‘They’ll be responding to requests for funding and be the conduit between the Continuum of Care Board and its activities and county,’ he said,” News 13 reported.

News 13 also noted that “Cable said officials believe having a person whose sole purpose is to focus on homelessness response will be a great benefit.

“‘How you plug in and respond to the community’s needs is really what the position is intended to do,’ he said.

‘Cable said what’s most concerning for the community is the difference they’re seeing in the unsheltered homeless population versus those who are sheltered.

“As the committee continues to formulate plans and funding needs, the homelessness program manager will be able to take that information to the board of commissioners and the county manager.

“While the position will focus on how to reduce homelessness overall, the prime focus will be on how to get people off the streets.

“‘They’re going to be looking at how we particularly address unsheltered needs because that’s probably our greatest need and growing area of need,’ Cable said.

“Cable said the application window will be closing soon and anyone who is interested should go to the county’s website and apply,” News 13 reported.



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