Homeward Bound’s Library Outreach

Homeward Bound staff member Erin recently transitioned into a new role as liaison between Buncombe County Library staff and the homeless community accessing the library. The County approached Homeward Bound because they had so many homeless individuals spending time in the library. With our help, library staff now have additional support and homeless services can be provided directly to those who need them. 

Community support is the only way we can come together to end homelessness.

How did the need for the position get started and how was it created?
I believe the library noticed they’ve had an increasing number of patrons experiencing homelessness. They wanted to provide more support for those individuals.

What type of work do you do on a day to day basis?
I work one on one with individuals experiencing homelessness, helping them to navigate the housing market and community resources. This can look a lot of different ways, depending on the needs of the individual. Sometimes I simply provide lists of income-based housing or shelters. Other times, I accompany people to do housing applications and visit programs for the first time. I regularly help people connect to community resources like health care, free food, employment and shelter. I do a lot of active listening.

What has been the biggest surprise? What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest surprise is the magnitude of need for homeless services throughout Buncombe County libraries. I’m extremely busy! The biggest challenge is the lack of affordable housing in Asheville right now.