Homeward Bound of WNC is a nonprofit organization ending homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina.
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The Homeward Bound community includes caring staff, volunteers, board members, and people experiencing or moving out of homelessness. We believe that housing is a human right and use the “Housing First” national best practice to end homelessness. We care about the most vulnerable among us and work every day to help them improve their lives. Join us!
Strategic Initiative: Ending Chronic Homelessness
People who are chronically homeless have been on the streets or in shelter for at least 12 months and have a disability. The longer people are homeless, the more complex their needs become: they develop chronic medical conditions that don’t get treated, their mental health deteriorates and substance use increases, and they often experience severe trauma because they don’t have a safe place to live. Additionally, their public costs are high because they use emergency medical services and are frequently incarcerated, often for misdemeanors related to living outside.
We proudly use the best practice “Housing First” model to end homelessness.
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We proudly use the best practice Housing First model to end homelessness. Housing First means that everyone has a human right to live inside. It means we move people out of homelessness and into homes as quickly as possible. Then we wrap around the services they need to stay there. We house everyone, regardless of illness, disability, addictions, behaviors, gender, religion, or any other characteristic.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness explains that Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing as quickly as possible – and then providing voluntary supportive services as needed. This approach prioritizes client choice in both housing selection and in service participation.
Housing First programs share critical elements:
- A focus on helping individuals and families access and sustain permanent rental housing as quickly as possible
- A variety of services delivered to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed and entirely voluntary basis
- A standard lease agreement to housing – as opposed to mandated therapy or services compliance.
While all Housing First programs share these elements, program models vary significantly depending upon the population served. For people who have experienced chronic homelessness, long-term services and support may be needed.
For most people experiencing homelessness, however, such long-term services are not necessary. The vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis. For these households, the Housing First approach provides them with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions. In turn, such households often require only brief, if any, support or assistance to achieve housing stability and individual well-being.
Some of them even Hollywood wouldn’t believe.
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A Conversation with Sarah and Cindy
Cindy and Sarah are an excellent example of the journey of Homeward Bound of WNC Case Managers’ and someone experiencing homelessness. Watch this amazing success story of moving into a new home and staying. A big thanks to Amplified Media for their excellent work on this and the other Homeward Bound of WNC Success Story’s.
AHOPE Day Center
Our Day Center is the front door to accessing housing and other help. We offer basic services like showers, storage, mail, access to phones, and coffee. Other agencies come here to help people who are living without housing get access to services. Most importantly, the process to start moving toward permanent housing begins here. We’re open weekdays from 8 a.m.– 3 p.m. (closing Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m.). The Day Center is located at 19 N. Ann Street in downtown Asheville.
All housing assessments begin here. Our staff and volunteers work with people to fill out housing applications, get connected to mental health and substance abuse treatment and medical care, complete disability applications, apply for food stamps, and find employment.
and our commitment to ending WNC homelessness
Homeward Bound of WNC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency working in Buncombe County. We end homelessness by moving people into permanent housing and providing the support that they need to stay there.
Our mission is working with others to end the cycle of homelessness.
Homeward Bound began in 1988 as Hospitality House, opening its doors to serve the growing homeless population through long-term emergency shelter. In 2006, Hospitality House became Homeward Bound of WNC, and shifted its focus from managing homelessness with shelter to ending homelessness with permanent housing, utilizing the best practice model of Housing First.
We are the community leader in best practices to end homelessness, and have been using the Housing First model since 2006. The Housing First model has been proven to be the most effective, cost-efficient, sustainable, and humane intervention to homelessness. Essentially this means people experiencing homelessness are housed as quickly as possible and offered case management services to provide support and resources to help maintain housing stability.
Since 2006, we have moved over 1,800 men, women, and children out of cars, camps, and shelters into permanent housing. We have an 89 percent retention rate in housing.
We envision a day when the poor and vulnerable among us will no longer be ignored but treated with compassion and decency. We envision a day when any homeless person, regardless of psychiatric disabilities, substance abuse problems, medical issues, or financial poverty, can move directly into service-enriched permanent housing and become a productive member of society.
- We believe in the absolute value and worth of every single human being.
- We believe that housing is a basic human right, integral to self-worth and dignity.
- We believe that homelessness is a solvable problem.
- We believe that all services should be offered with respect and empathy, in the spirit of hope and recovery.
- We believe that we are successful as an organization when one individual takes one step forward on the journey home.