Lilly Knoepp


The city of Asheville opened the region’s largest homeless shelter in the wake of COVID-19 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville. 

More rural counties in Western North Carolina are still working on plans of their own. 

Ten local musicians are performing at the Grey Eagle in a talent competition called Hidden Voices, organized by the nonprofit Asheville Poverty Initiative. Their common thread: All live below the federal poverty line, which is about $30,000 a year.

Lilly Knoepp

There aren’t any brick and mortar homeless shelters between Waynesville and Murphy – a gap of around 80 miles. Instead the counties in between operate other types of programs. BPR’s takes us to a new such program in Jackson County:  

Leah Szittai has been experiencing homelessness since this summer. Now 31 years old, she was living in a tent in a friend’s backyard with her boyfriend. 

“It was rough. Really rough,” says Szittai, who is from Michigan but has been living in Jackson County for over 15 years.  

Homeless Census Could Boost Funding

Feb 6, 2019

Homelessness is a growing problem in Western North Carolina, compounded by the difficulty in counting all those who are homeless.  That’s been a barrier to resources for those in need.

Living outdoors under a curious collection of tents and tarps isn’t easy, according to Sassy Fulp, but dealing with the wind, the cold and the rain aren’t even the hardest parts of it.  “[It’s] people riding by voicing out opinions in accusations and names,” said Fulp. “Pieces of trash, get a job, pick up the trash, drug addicts, thieves.”

Matt Peiken | BPR News

An estimated 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness in a given year. And while downtown Asheville is the public face of our region’s homelessness, there’s an artistic effort at Blue Ridge Community College, in Hendersonville, to spotlight rural homelessness.


Mountain views, hiking trails an exploding food scene and more breweries per capita than anywhere else in U.S.   It’s easy to see why the Asheville area is spilling over with tourists and newcomers.   The boom is a boost for the economy but often makes for a busier and sometimes more challenging day for police and other first responders whose job it is to care for both tourists and the people who live  here.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering reports.

City of Asheville

Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing Saturday & Sunday night in Asheville and Buncombe County.  Therefore, a 'Code Purple' has been declared for homeless shelters this weekend.  Shelters will be open to the homeless during the day and other times when they would typically be closed.   Shelters offering 'Code Purple' services include  -

A-Hope Day Center