Homelessness around the world has been downplayed over the past few years, the issue pushed down or brushed off by the government until it didn't seem like such a big deal to a lot of people anymore. It became something most people scorned, finding the homeless disgusting or weird, beginning to blame these people for the situation they ended up in without knowing the full story. It isn't always the case, however, that these people are totally at fault for what happened to them. A sizable amount of the homeless population consists of men or women who came back home after serving for the military to find they had lost their property, or their families had left them, and ended up on the streets after the government had turned a blind eye on their predicament. Children also make up a good portion of the homeless population in both America and Asheville alone.
Throughout America, homelessness has decreased by 0.3% between 2017 to 2018, surprising? Well, it’s still not enough, throughout the US, over 552,000 people were homeless in 2018. Half of the people experiencing homelessness in 2018 were in one of five states, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: “California (24%), New York (17%), Florida (6%), Texas (5%) and Washington (4%). African Americans represent 13% of the US’s population but 40% of them are homeless and 1/2 of the 40% are children.” Males are more likely to be homeless than females, 60% of the homeless are males in 2018, according to HUD. In January 2018, 38,000 veterans faced homelessness on a given night, the rate of overall homelessness has also dropped significantly.
In the United States as a whole we have to work to decrease the homeless population but, how is homelessness in Asheville, NC. Asheville has had a spike in homeless numbers since 2017 with a 10 percent increase due to lack of affordable housing. The U.S housing estimates that a homeless person costs taxpayers $40,000 per year and in Buncombe county that estimates to $22 million dollars. Due to the lack of sufficient housing around the country having homeless numbers increase has been a trend. This means that those who are homeless stay homeless longer. Sadly 43 percent of the homeless population in Buncombe county are veterans due to many different reasons. Luckily Asheville has a lot of organizations that can help homeless people and those in need.
One of the biggest questions about homelessness is, are certain groups more likely to be homeless than others? This is true, for example, Eighty percent of homelessness is split equally between African Americans or Caucasians according to a study from the National Alliance to End Homelessness in 2018. Ten percent of that goes to mix and the rest goes to Alaska Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander and Asian. There is a lot of disproportionality among African Americans. They take forty percent of homelessness but are thirteen percent of the general population of the United States. The big problem is that this imbalance is not improving. We can do something about it like assuring affordable, stable housing for all. Some of the top causes of homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse. These factors can lead to homelessness in a matter of time.
There are multiple ways to prevent homelessness. Homeless prevention includes policies, practices, and interventions to reduce the likeliness of people losing their homes. There are three types of homeless prevention: Universal, which targets the broad public, Selected which is aimed at members of specific groups, and Indicated, which is aimed at individuals identified with problems. If these ways of prevention don’t work and one becomes homeless, going to a homeless shelter is a good first step. There are seven main shelters here in Asheville, some for children, some for women, and some for all. Some shelters provide overnight stays, but some just have meals. Helping the homeless can be really easy as well. You can go to a local shelter and ask what materials are needed and donate some. Before you personally help someone, make sure you know their situation and if they want help. Homelessness in Asheville is a major problem, but there are many ways to prevent it and help those affected.
Story by Sarah Comer, Lily Severance, Sierra Stock, Taylor Franklin,
If you are an Asheville native or a long time visitor you will come to notice the influx of tourists during the holidays. Though many see this as a gateway for the world to explore and grow Asheville, there are also many who think that the city should be more focussed on its long term people instead of the ones visiting. There has been a huge rise in hotels around the cities and the tax for it has risen. One of the biggest problems is the space that Asheville has. It's a small town surrounded by mountains and recently land has been spared.
Many may have heard about the new law that the city has passed called Asheville Hotel Moratorium. It is a law that prohibits any new contracts and construction not already started in the city before the law passed. After the protest of many locals the government seemed to listen and take action. In the article by Citizen times they interviewed area director john Beatty and he had this to say “We are concerned that the proposed study focuses solely on hotel development rather than the issue of overall land use planning and development in the community." Though many might be affected by this law mainly company's citizens are surely happy this law passed. Many may ask why Asheville is a very popular tourist attraction. It may be because of the beautiful mountain scenery that pulls people in or the unique and diverse things and people to interact. It is known for hikes and tours around the beautiful downtown stated by the website Culture trip. It is also known for its many breweries and the unique art. Many can come and express their interest and not be judged and that oils in aloe for dreamers and visitors. Whether it be for the amazing views, brews, art, and or music this is a big factor for the increase of people and construction for hotels in the area.
Many wonder why Asheville is a big tourist city, lots of people who live in Asheville wonder why the tourists think of Asheville as such an amazing thing. Well to be honest, the reason that tourists really love Asheville is mostly for the beer that the local brewing companies make, the beer that is in Asheville is made with our local corn, wheat, nuts and fruit that are used in all of our local recipes. Locally owned
boutiques and shops are also a big reason that the tourists love to come to Asheville. Tourists love to come and spend their money anywhere they go, for some reason it is just a thing that they love to do. Tourists also like the beautiful mountain scenery that has a southern- Appalachian mountain type feeling.
The money that tourism provides to our city is what makes this city want to build more of what they have WAY too much of, "BEER COMPANIES”. The amount of money that the tourism industry in Asheville generates is around 119.2 million dollars per year. The tourists spend up to 5.4 million dollars daily. 1 out of 7 jobs in the city are supported by the tourism industry. More than 30k people visit the city of Asheville each day.
By Trayson Akbar & Gavin Cummings