Presenting keys at the back of the line first, Haywood Street Community Development is called to deeply affordable housing designed with dignity, built for belonging, and created to frustrate poverty with a forever home.
While resources are distributed and needs are met through many Haywood St. programs, our primary calling is not to “do for” but to “be with.” Relationship, above all else.
It has been through relationship- listening, eating, healing, worshipping and serving alongside one another- that we have repeatedly observed how, after chronic struggles on the streets or decades of camping under the bridge, an unhoused friend will receive keys to a front door and immediately get overwhelmed by a dark depression or an extended relapse.
Finally enclosed by four walls, the lack of connection can lead to further isolation.
Believing that the opposite of homelessness is more than housing, that community is an essential ingredient, Haywood St. began to pursue affordable housing as a new programmatic focus in 2015.
A dream began to take shape, that we could develop housing grounded in the Haywood St. ethos — where giving and receiving are encouraged; where the boundaries of us and them are trespassed; where strangers become neighbors.
We also recognize housing as an upstream solution to many of the problems we currently seek to address. It is next to impossible for someone to conquer addiction, overcome mental health challenges, or get well and stay well without a safe and stable place to live.
A new legal entity has been formed, known as Haywood Street Community Development, whose purpose is to develop deeply affordable housing connected to the existing Haywood St. ministries.
Though independently governed, Haywood Street Congregation and Haywood Street Community Development unite around a common philosophy that includes preferential treatment for the poor and a deeply held belief in each individual’s intrinsic worth.
Our long-term vision includes multiple housing developments in Asheville and Buncombe County, to help meet the significant gap in deeply affordable housing, particularly for residents with very low or no income.
Many unhoused individuals, after repeatedly eating leftover food, wearing hand-me-down clothes or surviving in tattered tents, begin to believe that they are only worth as much as someone else’s donation.
Wanting to overwhelm residents with a contrary experience, all Haywood Street Community Development projects will be constructed with premium materials such as stainless-steel appliances, luxury vinyl tile flooring, granite countertops, 9-foot ceilings, private balconies, and all the appointments of home.
Convinced that housing can only be done collaboratively, our intention is to use flex space within each development to partner with other area non-profits. Possibilities include a pantry operated by Manna Food Bank, on-site case management provided by Homeward Bound, meeting space for connecting with Pisgah Legal Services, or other services identified by residents as needed.
To learn more or connect with our work to develop deeply affordable housing, please send us an email to HSCD@HaywoodStreet.org.