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Causes of homelessness debated by advocates at Rep. Edwards’ summit
Sunday, 04 February 2024 17:38

From Staff Reports 

Six specialists deeply involved in Western North Carolina’s ongoing homeless crisis discused the causes of homelessness and why most plans have failed, as the organizer of the summit, U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, R-Flat Rock, listened intently on the afternoon of Jan. 26 at A-B Tech in Asheville.

By design, the summit also served as a platform for leaders to share experiences and frustrations on an issue that Edwards said he feels must be addressed at the federal level. Edwards noted that he is well-aware of the societal crisis impacting big and small cities nationwide.

Edwards shared that he is working to learn more about the complexities of the homeless crisis locally and nationally. He also showed photos he had taken as, he said, he went by himself to speak to the homeless and to hear individuals' stories as they struggle with homelessness.

Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) quoted Edwards as saying, “Once being elected to Congress, it very quickly became apparent to me that the issue of homelessness goes far beyond what I ever knew. It also occurs to me from talking to so many different folks in the district that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about homelessness.”

News 13 added, “Edwards admitted at the start of the forum there’s a lot he doesn’t understand about the crisis. He said he intends to learn and have experts in the mountains share ideas, so that he can potentially take that knowledge back to Washington D.C., where federal funding decisions are made.”

The panel of six included the Rev. Scott Rogers, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry executive director; Micheal A. Woods, Western Carolina Rescue Ministries executive director; Tim Radford, mayor of Murphy; Cpt. Jonathan Brown, Community Engagement Division, Asheville Police Department; Emily Ball, manager of Asheville Homeless Strategy Division; and Lyndsey Simpson, mayor pro tempore of Hendersonville

News 13 quoted Radford as saying, “We are definitely seeing a rise in homelessness in Murphy, North Carolina. I’ve been mayor two years now. We’ve done a lot of research and meetings. It boils down to an affordable housing issue.”

The TV station stated, “Radford and homeless experts nationwide continue to assert a lack of affordable housing is at the heart of the crisis. But those experts also agree that issues of drugs, addiction and mental illness contribute to deep and chronic homelessness for many across the mountains.” 



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