Asheville Homeless Coalition issues Code Purple for weekend as temps drop below freezing

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Men file into a kitchen for dinner at Western Carolina Rescue Ministries emergency shelter in this file photo. The Asheville Homeless Coalition called a Code Purple for the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12.
Men file into a kitchen for dinner at Western Carolina Rescue Ministries emergency shelter in this file photo. The Asheville Homeless Coalition called a Code Purple for the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12.

The Asheville Homeless Coalition has issued a Code Purple for the nights of Dec. 11 and 12 ahead of the forecast for below-freezing temperatures overnight.

According to the coalition's Facebook page, the following emergency shelters are open to those experiencing homelessness this weekend:

  • For men: ABCCM Costello House, 141 Hillside St., starting at 4 p.m. and lasting throughout the night, in addition to law enforcement and paramedic escorts after hours. Call 828-259-5314. A shuttle will be available at 5 p.m. from 24 Cumberland Ave.

  • For women and children: Salvation Army from 6-7 p.m. Law enforcement or paramedic escort allowed after hours. Call 828-253-4723.

More: 'Over and over again': Asheville homeless encampment razed off I-240

Dump trucks were filled with the belongings of the unhoused community by NCDOT workers Dec. 9, 2021. Around 30 tents had sheltered people, pets and personal items.
Dump trucks were filled with the belongings of the unhoused community by NCDOT workers Dec. 9, 2021. Around 30 tents had sheltered people, pets and personal items.

The Asheville-Buncombe Homeless Coalition calls a Code Purple when temperatures are expected to drop below 32 degrees.

When called, area shelters and other organizations are supposed to offer emergency shelter overflow to the more than 500 people estimated to be experiencing homelessness in the event of severe weather conditions. This year, shelter options were not announced through a Code Purple until Dec. 1, although there were nights below freezing in November.

According to the National Weather Service, overnight lows on Dec. 11 are expected to dip to 30 degrees, with scattered rain and 10-20 mph winds.

Rain chances drop significantly on Dec. 12, but the high is expected to reach 51 degrees and the low forecast for 27 degrees.

More: Buck passed again on fate of Asheville homeless encampment

According to officials, the stretch of grass where an encampment has developed along Patton Avenue and I-240 belongs to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
According to officials, the stretch of grass where an encampment has developed along Patton Avenue and I-240 belongs to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Asheville continues to struggle with how to address the growing need to help those without homes. On Dec. 9, less than 24 hours after city officials said there was no timetable to remove a homeless encampment off I-240, the area was razed by a N.C. Department of Transportation crew.

More: Ramada Inn future: Asheville hopes to work with California-based firm on homeless shelter

The day before, the land abutting Haywood Street Congregation off I-240 was a 35-tent homeless encampment, many of its residents with nowhere left to go.

That same night, Dec. 8, Richard Mark Nabors, 52, of Michigan, who had been living at the camp, was found dead, according to a news release from Asheville Police, who say the investigation into his death is ongoing.

In early December the city canceled plans to convert the Ramada Inn on River Ford Parkway into a high-access emergency homeless shelter after stakeholders could not “come to consensus” about the project.

On Dec. 8 city leaders announced an alternative to turn the hotel into "permanent supportive housing" using partnerships with two California companies.

News tips? Email Asheville Citizen Times Investigations Editor Karen Chávez at KChavez@CitizenTimes.com.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Asheville Homeless Coalition issues Code Purple as temps drop below 32