Asheville, NC

Public housing enables the homeless to thrive in Asheville

November 28, 2015
Being homeless often involves circumstances out of one’s control.
     “I was kicked out of my home when I was 18. The hardest part was not knowing where I would be sleeping at night. For a while I was couchsurfing, and when it got really bad I would sleep in my car,” said 20-year-old Daniella Adarve Cuellar. “The key to avoiding police harassment is to park somewhere no one will notice you, like the dark corner of Walmart, but then my safety becomes an issue.”
     In 2005, a 10-year initiative started to end chronic homelessness by 2015 in Asheville. According to the executive summary of this initiative, 2,000 people experience homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County at some time during the course of each year.
     According to the North Carolina Point-In-Time Count for Asheville/Buncombe County in 2008, the total homeless population was 509 for the year of 2008, a decrease in 2012 to 423 people.

N.C. gets $1.5M for housing and economic projects

December 10, 2002
North Carolina communities will share $1.5 million for housing and economic development projects, according to U.S. Sen. John Edwards' office.
     The Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council was awarded $272,879 to fight housing discrimination in Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Henderson, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey counties. The council will partner with Pisgah Legal Services, the Fair Housing Center and the Affordable Housing Coalition to investigate discrimination against minorities in rental and mortgage lending markets. 

N.C. condo ass'n found liable for bias against children

August 21, 2002
A federal jury has determined that an Etowah condominium association and certain of its residents violated the federal Fair Housing Act when it forced a family of four to move out of the development and thereafter took illegal steps to discourage other families from moving in.
      The jury of five men and three women awarded $65,000 in compensatory damages to Lisa and Ronnie Edwards and their minor sons, Alex and Davey, of Etowah. In addition to the compensatory damage award, the Jury notified United States Magistrate Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. that punitive damages were appropriate based on the Defendants' malicious or reckless disregard of the Plaintiffs' rights. While the jury deliberated on the punitive damage award, however, the parties settled the issue among themselves.

Indian Mascots Brings Justice Dept. to Town

February 17, 1999
Rayne Merzlak never dwelt much on his Lakota Sioux heritage, being a teenager with other things on his mind, until one day at a pep rally for the Erwin High School Warriors and Squaws. As a whooping mascot in a feathered headdress ran out onto the floor, other students chanted about their intentions for the opposing team: "Let's scalp 'em!"
    And, as if he were seeing the scene for the first time, Merzlak said, he felt deeply offended. "They thought it was a joke," said the 1998 graduate, now 18. "But I didn't think it was a joke." 
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