About Us


learn about homelessness

make a difference

Our mission is working with others to end the cycle of homelessness.

Homeward Bound has been using the Housing First model since 2006 and has housed more than 2,100 people with an 89% retention rate. A key ingredient in our success are the supportive services that accompany housing. The key to keeping people in housing is trained, compassionate, and nonjudgmental staff who care about the people we serve. Our case managers are trained in diversion, harm reduction, motivational interviewing, and Homeward Bound’s own case management standards of excellence.

Our Values

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.

Our Story

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’re the community leader in best practices to end homelessness, and have been using the Housing First model since 2006. Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues.

Learn more about Homeward Bound 

Award-winning Director Katie Damien’s film, Housing is Healthcare, depicts Homeward Bound’s clients and their case mangers who help them out of homelessness and into their own housing.

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News & Updates

Homeward Bound Featured in PBS Show “Overcoming Homelessness”

Homeward Bound is featured in “Overcoming Homelessness,” a special by PBS show NCimpact.

Homeward Bound’s Call for Change

Nationally, African Americans accounted for 40 percent of all people experiencing homelessness in 2019 despite being 13% of the population. This is just one of the many symptoms of institutional racism and economic and racial inequity. We believe in the absolute value...

Asheville-Buncombe 2020 Point-in-Time count completed

As part of the nationwide 2020 Point-in-Time (PIT) count, the Asheville-Buncombe County Homeless Initiative has completed its report of the community’s one-night count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The final report was submitted to the U.S....

Sheltered Community in Harrah’s Cherokee Center Move to Hotel

José Valadez looks over the balcony at the Red Roof Inn in Asheville on Tuesday. Valadez is a client of Homeward Bound, which began housing otherwise homeless clients at the motel during the coronavirus pandemic this week. Photo by Jacob Biba, courtesy of Carolina...

Words from Homeward Bound’s Emergency Shelter

STAYING SAFE: Yulon Ferguson has been sheltering at the Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville since it opened on April 8. He is using the time in quarantine to make plans for the future and to give back through mentoring his peers and pitching in on cleaning chores....

VIRTUAL Welcome Home Luncheon Announced

The event will be held online live on May 20th. The inspiring program will include words from our Executive Director Meredith Switzer, a short documentary by Emmy-Award winning director Katie Damien, as well as a spoken-word performance and musical performance by...

Homeward Bound Opens Emergency Shelter in Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville

Homeward Bound, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and several nonprofit community partners are collaborating to turn Harrah's Cherokee Center (Civic Center) into a safe shelter for people who are homeless and living unsheltered. This week, with the assistance of...

Ingles-Markets Presenting Sponsor of Welcome Home Luncheon 2020

Ingles Markets, thank you. Ingles-Markets continues year after year to support Homeward Bound and ending homelessness. As our presenting sponsor to our Welcome Home Luncheon this year, the costs of catering, space rental, printing, and so much more are paid for by...

Donation Drive in Response to COVID-19

Items critically needed at this time include: Camping gear, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, disinfectant cleaning supplies including wipes, regular baby wipes, disposable gloves, towels, soap, underwear, socks, and unopened (without the seal broken)...

2020 Valentine’s Day Lunch and Learn Announced

Did you know...?-57% of homeless women cite sexual or domestic violence as the direct cause of their homelessness. -More than 90% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their life. -38% of all victims of domestic violence...