The Community Reparations Commission will hold their next meeting on Monday, August 15, 2022, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The meeting is being held at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Banquet Hall at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. The public is welcome to attend the entire session. The meeting will be recorded and streamed here.
The Buncombe County Commission meets this Tuesday 8/16/22 at 5 pm. You can attend the meeting at 200 College Street, Room 326 in downtown Asheville. You can watch the meeting online via Buncombe County’s Facebook page. The full agenda is here.
Things that seem problematic
County Commission Agenda – New Business: Resolution Establishing a General Obligation Bonds Community Oversight Committee
This is a proposal to set up an Oversight Committee for two bonds passed earlier this year totalling $70 million. The Committee would have five members: “one person with an accounting background, one person with a banking background, one representative of the affordable housing community, one representative from the conservation/ greenways community each to be appointed by this Board, and one member to be appointed by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.”
We think an Oversight Committee is a good idea, but are troubled that only one of the members is from the affordable housing community, when much of this bond package is concerned with providing affordable housing. We think the size of the committee needs to be expanded and there needs to be language inserted, requiring significant representation from communities with a history of adverse housing bias due to racism.
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the Buncombe County Commission via their contact page and share your concern that this Committee has minimal representation from the affordable housing committee. Encourage them to insert language requiring significant representation from communities with a history of adverse housing bias due to racism.
Things of concern, more information needed
County Commission Agenda – Presentation: Strategic Partnership Grants Committee
This committee makes recommendations for the County’s Strategic Partnership Grant Program, now in its third year.
Award amounts are substantial, and the goals of the program are sound. However, there is no quantitative analysis of grant awards based on an equity lens, and so impossible to know what percentage of the grant funds are awarded to Black-led organizations or serve those communities.
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the Buncombe County Commission via their contact page and ask them to request that the Strategic Partnership Grant program collect and share demographic data on the organizations funded and populations served.
County Commission Agenda – Public Hearing: Community Development Block Grant – Neighborhood Revitalization (Resolution, Citizen Participation Plan, Presentation)
These block grants are federal funds awarded to the State through US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to promote equitable, affordable housing, support existing communities; and/or value communities and neighborhoods.
These grants have been historically awarded to predominantly white organizations. The County has a public engagement plan, but it’s unclear to us how organizations led by Black people and other people of color will be encouraged and/or supported in applying for this funding.
Things to do
We encourage you to reach out to the Buncombe County Commission via their contact page and encourage them to approve a “citizen participation plan” that specifically prioritizes the engagement of organizations led by Black people and other people of color.
Things that sound like a step in the right direction
Asheville Housing and Community Development Committee Meeting: Affordable Housing Proposal from Mountain Housing Opportunities – August 16, 2022 at 10 am
The Committee will hear a request for $850,000 for the development of Restaurant Court, a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development of rental apartments.
There are several features of this proposal that we strongly endorse:
- It reserves units for youth aging out of foster care
- The developer is a non-profit, and all of the units will be prices at 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) and below.
We appreciate the leadership of Council Member Antanette Mosley in pushing for this initiative and hope to see Vice-Mayor Sheneika Smith and Council Member Sage Turner join her in voting for this initiative to be brought to the full Asheville City Council for approval.
Things to do
Reach out to the Council Members on the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Committee – Sage Turner, Sheneika Smith, Antanette Mosley – and encourage them to support this request and vote to bring it to the full Asheville City Council for approval. Here are their email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also encourage you to attend the HCD meeting and make a public comment. The meeting will be held virtually at 10 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022. Instructions for watching and making a public comment are here.