City leaders consider other options after Ramada Inn shelter plans are suspended

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City of Asheville staff announced on Friday that they do not move forward with the plans for the Ramada Inn emergency shelter.

“A lot of the feedback we received from the community and our funding partners as well, is that a more robust planning process was really needed,” said Nikki Reid, the city’s director of community and economic development. of Asheville.

THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE WILL NOT MOVE WITH AN EMERGENCY SHELTER AT RAMADA INN

City staff said they were unable to come to an agreement with other community partners on plans for the project.

City staff and other advocates hoped the shelter would help people with complex needs, such as those whose jobs prevented them from imposing curfews at other shelters.

“If you ask me what it takes now to make a crucial difference, this is emergency shelter,” said Amy Cantrell, an executive at BeLoved Asheville.

However, those who oppose it have complained to the city for months about problems with needles, vandalism and violence. These people said they have seen examples of these things since the Ramada Inn opened as a shelter during the pandemic.

Those against the idea said they were concerned about nearby schools and what it would mean for children.

“We want to help those in need, we don’t think a low barrier shelter is the way to do it in this community,” said Christina McLamb, director of Best Bride Prom and Tux.

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On some recent cold nights there was no Code Purple shelter available.

The number of tents per 240 has also increased.

Cantrell said that with the withdrawal of emergency shelter plans, this is another example of why Asheville continues to see tent cities.

“Oh, sure, we don’t have emergency shelter for the hundreds of people we need,” she said.

Buncombe County had yet to allocate the necessary US bailout funds for this project.

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“The city cannot do it alone. Partner funding is critical to the success of this shelter, ”said Reid.

There are currently 80 people staying at the Ramada Inn. They can stay there until March. City officials said they would work to find alternative housing for these people.

Asheville city leaders are now considering the idea of ​​creating more permanent housing on the Ramada Inn property instead of the emergency shelter. If this idea works, city council could vote on it at the December 14 meeting.

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