Government Accountability Project Asheville

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RED:

Things that seem problematic

Asheville Housing Authority planning to shut down Head Start Programs at Lonnie D. Burton, Hillcrest, and Pisgah View

In the 5/13/24 GAP Report, we expressed concern about plans to terminate the leases of three Head Start programs operating in public housing facilities.

Our Ask

We are asking the Asheville Housing Authority CEO and Board why they are ending these three Head Start programs, why their Request For Proposals for replacement programs only suggests a 50% subsidized percentage, and what provisions they are making to accommodate the impacted families. We cc’d the Asheville City Council.

Please see the GAP Report for 5/13/24 for more details about this issue and how you can advocate with us.

O

REPORT BACK STATUS

Unresolved

We haven’t received any official response from either the Housing Authority or City Council. However, we have been able to gather more information about this issue. Apparently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that there be a competitive bidding process every five years for the use of Housing Authority facilities for programs, such as childcare. Also, providers must demonstrate that a majority of their services are being offered to public housing residents. We have heard from several sources that the Head Start programs in question may not meet that criteria.

We continue to be troubled by the lack of transparency around this process. There is no statement on the HACA website that explains why the Head Start programs’ lease was terminated, or the need for a competitive bidding process. We’d like to review the Request for Proposals (RFP) that the Housing Authority has issued, rather than rely upon reports of what it contains. (While the RFP is listed here, you have to register as a vendor before being able to view the document.)

In sum, we understand why community members are upset about this potential disruption of childcare services. HACA is obviously not required to communicate with the public around their plans or processes, but refusing to do so may be leading to unnecessary community confusion and distress. We are still encouraging folks to take action with us, using our original email template, which can be found at the bottom of our GAP Report for 5/13/24.

(Additionally, the Asheville Watchdog has a new article that describes other challenges around local childcare services, which you can read here.)

GAP Supporter Actions Taken: 21

Recipients and Responses:

Housing Authority for the City of Asheville

  • President Monique L. Pierre: No response
  • Board Chairman Tilman Jackson: No response
  • Vice Chair Reginald Robinson: No response
  • Board Member Scott Farkas: No response
  • Board Member Roy Harris: No response
  • Board Member Kidada Wynn: No response
  • Board Member Dr. Shantelle Simpson: No response
  • Board Member David L. Robinson, Sr.: No response

Asheville City Council

  • Mayor Esther Manheimer: No response
  • Vice Mayor Sandra Kilgore: No response
  • City Council Member Antanette Mosley: No response
  • City Council Member Kim Roney: No response
  • City Council Member Maggie Ullman: No response
  • City Council Member Sage Turner: No response
  • City Council Member Sheneika Smith: No response