Haywood Street Community Development Board members at the project development site.
Asheville City Council has approved HSCD’s Community Development project that will bring 45 units of deeply affordable housing to West Haywood Street! Click the button below to read the article on the decision. View the article here.
The Street Dog Coalition will be hosting a pet clinic at Haywood Street this Sunday from 9am-12pm. Click herefor more information.
– An update on Mask Wearing at Haywood Street: As the information continues to change around the pandemic, Haywood Street will continue to place the health and safety of our friends, companions, and staff at the forefront of our decisions. Until Buncombe County’s transmission rate falls to moderate, companions and staff will continue to wear masks and all friends and guests will be encouraged to mask while inside. (CDC COVID Data Tracker here)
A Reflection from McKenzie, Owner of M.G. Dillingham Residential Construction:
Photo by Kathrine Brooks Photography
McKenzie Dillingham, Haywood Street Community Development Board Chair and Owner of M.G.Dillingham, LLC (Residential Construction)
For the last decade, I have spent my professional career building homes – the brick and mortar type. I grade the virgin land, raise the walls, trim it out with all the finishes and hand the keys over to an eager client. It is a very literal definition of a home, a shelter from the storm, a kitchen for a warm meal and a place to safely rest your head. Each home is unique to those who live inside and each location, complimentary to their lifestyle. I have always been passionate about building people’s homes.
To me however, home is also a feeling. Home is found in a community. Home is found in a loving spouse or a supportive family. Home is found on our high mountain peaks, while soaking in mossy covered trails and dapples of sunlight. Home is found in a faith community and in a chaotic, holy worship service. Sharing comfort food around the table with friends is home. Being welcomed by strangers and friends alike, whether unhoused or sheltered, addicted or sober, gay or straight, black or white, sick or well – is home.
I walked into Haywood Street in 2015, seeking home for myself. After a hard divorce with the church I knew, I wanted a new home. In years prior I had visited Haywood Street as a tourist, only skimming the surface. Yet, my short trips left the echo of radical acceptance and meaningful community in my head. So, I returned. It was somewhat of a last-ditch effort, because if I couldn’t find Jesus in this gracious space, then he wasn’t to be found at all. Little did I know how much Jesus would be found in the “holy chaos”. Jesus wasn’t just found at the altar or behind the pulpit (spoiler, there isn’t one). Jesus wasn’t found in the pastor, or the choir – He was found in the basement, at a table hovering over a hearty plate of 12 Bones BBQ and with a fresh barber’s cut.
Many who pass through the doors of Haywood Street are unhoused, yet they have found home. Many who pass through the doors of Haywood Street seek a home of a different kind. Though I have been blessed with a home, a literal shelter, my whole life – I still have lacked home in a faith community, which Haywood Street welcomed me graciously into. So, in early 2020 when Laura reached out to me to help establish the Board of Directors for Haywood Street Community Development (a sister organization of Haywood Street Congregation), it was an easy YES from me. I knew Haywood Street had a deep passion for serving the underserved and those most often forgotten. I knew of their deep commitment to finding solutions and working with others to create meaningful programs and resources. I knew that tackling housing was the next “right” step in their mission. Haywood Street is undeniably talented at creating community so this project would not only become a literal home for those struggling, but also a community home of which I so deeply believe in.
It is no secret that Asheville has long struggled with affordable housing and that the problem is growing exponentially. Homelessness is easy to spot, even for those disconnected from the realities of our friends on the streets. Yet there is an invisible demographic that is struggling to find a home. It is the single parent with two kids and two jobs, making minimum wage and unable to afford a home for the whole family. It is the elderly resident who saw cancer rear its head earlier in life, rendering their only savings non-existent. It is the formerly incarcerated person who has turned their life around but cannot find a landlord willing to take a chance on them. It is the sober addict who found a job, bought a car and is ready to find a place of rest. It is the schoolteacher, the garbage truck driver, the dishwasher, it is all of our neighbors who work hard to make our community thrive and keep Asheville diverse but can no longer afford to call it home.
The mission of Haywood Street Community Development is to reach into these very margins and provide a new vision of home. Not only will we open our doors to those falling through the cracks, but we will have community space, designed to create a home of the emotional type. Haywood Street Community Development will be holistic housing – Providing dignity through dwellings and connection through community.
As a home builder, I couldn’t be more passionate and excited about these new homes for the heart and soul. Our friends living in these 45 units will know their home is affordable in perpetuity and that they are safe and welcomed with open arms. I look forward to the community that will be built within its walls and the opportunity to repeat this model throughout our city as the need continues to increase.