On eviction of neighbors experiencing homelessness.
Debra and Esther, I will send these questions and my request to each of my colleagues separately to avoid deliberation.
1. With the decision to house neighbors experiencing homelessness at the Red Roof Inn during the pandemic, we have had celebratory success in moving folks into permanent housing. Are we currently offering to move folks into Red Roof Inn? If so, what is our capacity there? If not, is another, similar option being pursued?
2. I understand that staff is meeting with faith leaders and nonprofits this week to discuss next steps regarding eviction. A potential solution for temporary camping permits that includes porta john permit is on the table. The decision to limit to properties not in residential areas may limit our success. Is it possible to have smaller capacity permits for properties in residential areas?
3. Support for health and well-being will add to our shared success with partners. Have we reached out to Buncombe County to ask about partnering with the new community paramedic program? Or perhaps asked BeLoved about what funding would be needed to ramp up the street medic services?
4. In my conversations with community leaders this week, I was reminded of a potential solution that has been on the table before: parking deck space. It is possible that we could partner to allow car camping on a floor of a parking deck like the Civic Center? This would be proximal to resources, could be staffed while we’re in transition, and has bathroom access. I don’t imagine non-vehicular camping would be permissible.
5. It is my understanding that staff is communicating to some partners that Council made a decision to serve eviction notices to campers experiencing homelessness. I would appreciate clarity on how/when that majority decision was communicated.
6. Staying on course for positive outcomes and increased safety for everyone is possible. We need a plan, we’re making a plan that will take a bit more time, and I think we have been headed in the right direction with our partners. Now we’ve created a barrier to our success. It is in our power to pause the clock on evictions so we can get from where we are to where we need to be instead of losing our partner capacity which will have to shift to answering the call to support the campers we’re choosing to evict.
I am also getting a lot of emails from neighbors with housing expressing concerns about campers experiencing homelessness. If we finish developing a temporary plan with our partners, we can effectively communicate then engage in solutions. I am hopeful because we have a long-vision plan regarding permanently-supportive housing and because we have partners doing deeply-affordable, equity-building housing work through cost-effective solutions like the Tiny Home Village. We need more partners, and we need a bit more time to keep the ball rolling.
Please hear my urgent request to pause the clock.