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Our Goal: End and Prevent Homelessness November 29, 2010

Posted by abhomeless in The Basics.
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November’s Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week helped us take a look at homelessness, including the myths surrounding homelessness in our community and how those myths impact our perceptions. Thinking about homelessness can be mysterious and overwhelming, so it helps to come together and talk about what it means. We are excited about the dialogue that has emerged and happy to offer the community some common definitions to use as we continue our dialogues on homelessness.

First, what is homelessness? The answer is beguilingly simple: homelessness is the experience of not having a home.

To be specific, the federal definition, as set out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), describes the situation of any individual or family who, for various reasons, has found it necessary to live in emergency shelters or transitional housing for some period of time. This category also includes unsheltered persons who sleep in places not meant for human habitation (for example: streets, parks, abandoned buildings, cars and tunnels) and who may also use shelters on an intermittent basis.

Another important definition is “imminent risk of homelessness”, which describes the situation of persons who are “couch-surfing” (staying temporarily with friends), temporarily living in a hotel, or even living in housing that they will have to leave due to eviction or lack of resources.

As you can see, the emphasis is on a lack of stable housing. This means that homelessness can, and does, affect a wide range of people. This is, in part, what makes ending homelessness a complex and evolving process.

Asheville-Buncombe’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness has in its mission to end chronic homelessness and, moving forward, respond quickly and efficiently to individuals and families if they do experience a housing crisis so that homelessness does not become a way of life for anyone.

And we’re not alone. State and National organizations such as the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH), the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness recognize the importance of applying community interventions that focus on housing as a means to ending homelessness and offer communities such as ours with best-practices research and the recently released Opening Doors, the federal plan to end homelessness.

Ending homelessness will not happen overnight and it cannot happen without your help! Visit our website for more information on how you can get involved.

Are you experiencing homelessness or have you in the past? Do you know someone who is experiencing homelessness or who has previously? We’d love to hear from you. It is your stories that need to be heard and we hope that you will consider sharing them with us.

Have you visited our Facebook page? There is a lot of great stuff on there. Why not head over and have a look?

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1. Housing First « Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative - November 30, 2010

[…] by abhomeless in The Basics. Tags: Homeless, Housing First trackback In yesterday’s entry, Our Goals: End and Prevent Homelessness, we provided a basic definition of homelessness as a way of bring everyone to a common […]

2. Ending Homelessness – Veterans and the 5-Year Plan « Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative - December 10, 2010

[…] we have discussed previously, homelessness is the experience of being without stable housing and, as such, it affects an […]

3. Housing Matters: Youth Homelessness « Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative - December 14, 2010

[…] First, National Alliance to End Homelessness, youth trackback This month in our blog we’ve defined homelessness, discussed Housing First, and looked at veteran homelessness. Today we’re going […]

4. Data Counts! The 2011 Point in Time Count « Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative - February 24, 2011

[…] may have heard that 600 individuals experience homelessness on any given night in our community. Have you ever wondered where that figure comes […]


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