WELCOME FROM HAYWOOD STREET:
On Tuesday, Asheville’s Housing and Community Development Committee agreed to back more than $2 million from the city to support the Haywood Street Community Development and permanent affordable housing downtown. Click here to read the article.
Click here to view an insightful presentation on the details regarding the Haywood Street Community Development.
Please enjoy this video of Pamela, a dear friend to the Haywood Street community and a board member of the Haywood Street Community Development. Pamela’s story reflects those of so many around us and her lived experience helps inform our work.
– Companions, the Downtown Welcome Table needs your help on Wednesdays and Sundays! Click here to find out more about how you can get involved.
-During next Wednesday’s worship service, there will be a memorial service held for our friends. It is a time to remember and honor those in our community that we have lost. All are welcome to attend.
A Reflection from Katie, Respite Intern:
Being a part of the Haywood Street community and workplace is like being welcomed into a culture and place that you had been sure couldn’t possibly exist anymore, if it ever did. I have been interning here for only a month and yet I feel that my ideas and dreams of what is possible in an organization, a community, are radically changed. I feel like I accidentally stumbled upon a poem of resistance. Resistance to and antithesis of the ever growing momentum of chaos, crisis and absurdity that the world is hurtling towards.
I wasn’t even supposed to wind up at Haywood Street but due to covid complications and organizational fall throughs, I ended up in their medical respite. It’s enough to make me consider a divinely orchestrated plan after all.
When you hear staff talk in the halls, at meetings, with friends or in their official roles you get this feeling of alignment. Alignment with the philosophy and purpose that courses through this place – relationship. There is a lot of talk about relationship at Haywood St. and there is even more practice. When there is conflict or difficult conversations to have, which is the norm, there is a foundation of trust and understanding with friends, companions and staff. The staff regularly collaborate and talk about what boundaries to hold and how, while also holding the complexity and nuance that comes with each situation. That is something that stands out to me as deeply human. Haywood Street gets specific. They treat each situation, each person who walks on to their campus, as a human being with a rich, unique story that deserves to be heard in all of its pain and glory. When situations arise or friends need support, the staff brainstorms creative ways to show their care based on their individual relationships and experiences with knowing that person.
In some ways it is profoundly simple – build relationships and use that as the foundation to relate to people, to see and hear them. When you compare that to the efficiency and outcome driven world of hyper productivity that also permeates our social services and institutions that try to help people, I guess it is a bit more complex to sit down and listen to someone, no check list or pen in hand. It does require more of your heart and your soul than mechanized systems of evaluation, paper work, structured interviews, the endless passing off on to the next person who has 20 minutes. It requires presence, a slowness, a humanity.
I am realizing how much I must have internalized this mind set of “well you do what you can and then it’s out of your hands.” And the ideas that caring too much and giving too much are highly frowned upon and discouraged, unprofessional. One job called it rational detachment. That always disturbed me on some level. I don’t want to practice any type of detachment. Being at Haywood Street is practicing the erosion of separation and categories of otherness. And sometimes it’s really hard and sometimes it’s really beautiful, because so much of the time you will see yourself reflected in the eyes of the person you are talking to.