Government Accountability Project Asheville

REPORT BACKS

Housing Authority shutting down Head Start

q

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

2023 Disparity Study / Budget

q

RED:

Things that seem problematic

Asheville 2024-2025 Budget – 2023 Asheville Disparity Study – Business Inclusion Office Funding

In the 4/8/24 and 5/13/24 GAP Reports, we brought up the 2023 Disparity Study and its findings that Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) receive disproportionately fewer contracts offered by the City of Asheville. The Disparity Study offered 27 recommendations for how to address these disparities. We are concerned that the current resources dedicated to the Asheville Business Inclusion (ABI) office will be a barrier to implementing any of these recommendations.

Our Ask

We suggested that the City publicly acknowledge the importance of these recommendations and answer community concerns about whether the current budget and size and scope of the ABI office is sufficient to incorporate them. We encouraged you to write to the City Manager and City Council to advocate for the ABI office to be allocated the resources necessary to implement the Disparity Study’s recommendations.

You can read more about this and find instructions on how to continue to advocate with us in the GAP Reports from 4/8/24 and 5/13/24.

O

REPORT BACK

Unresolved

We’re unaware of any response from the City Manager or a member of the City Council on this issue. However, we have learned that there will be a presentation about the plans for Disparity Study recommendation implementation at the next Equity and Engagement Committee Meeting on May 21, 2024. (There is no information on this meeting yet on the City website; we will update this page once there is.) If you haven’t already, please use our email tool at the bottom of the 5/13/24 GAP Report linked here to send a message requesting more resources be allotted to the ABI office.

GAP Supporter Actions Taken: 38

Recipients and Responses:

  • City Manager Debra Campbell: No response
  • 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

ARCHIVED REPORT BACKS

SIGN UP FOR UPDATES