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 healthcare volunteers from the Dale Fell Community Health Center, 50 individuals were screened and transitioned into the shelter including nine women from Homeward Bound’s Room in the Inn program.

At this time, the contract with the city is for a month of service, but we recognize that this will likely last much longer. Homeward Bound’s AHOPE team will staff the shelter 24/7, meals and prepared food are being handled by 12 Baskets Cafe and mattresses have been supplied by UNC Asheville.

The shelter effort is being led by Homeward Bound’s Director of Homeless Services Nicole Brown (pictured, photo by Angela Wilhelm, Citizen Times) with assistance from Executive Director Meredith Switzer.

Meredith noted that, “We have been able to launch this sheltering effort – with only 2 1/2 days of planning – which we believe will not only ease suffering, but prevent death within our community.”

How can I help?

Below is a list of needed items which can be dropped off at the civic center doors in downtown Asheville between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 pm only Monday through Sunday, or anytime at the Welcome Home Donation Center at 205 Elk Park Drive in Woodfin.

You can also give a tax deductible donation that would help cover unbudgeted emergency expenses due to coronavirus, please donate here.

The outpouring of generosity from supporters has been inspiring and amazing! Donating to Homeward Bound will directly impact people living outside or in shelter who are vulnerable to coronavirus and its potentially deadly effects.

Emergency Shelter Needs at Harrah’s Civic Center

bottled water
single serving packaged meals, snacks, and breakfast items
Gatorade, sodas (especially coke), tea, juice
washcloths and towels
twin sheet sets
Lysol spray and wipes
laundry soap
socks & underwear
toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, feminine products, shaving cream, body and hand cream, etc)
games, puzzles, and books
comfy clothes and sweats
bins for organizing supplies
No frozen food please