BOONE-In the absence of a long-term shelter, more destitute Ashe county residents are utilizing the Hospitality House homeless shelter in neighboring Watauga County.
The Hospitality House is a community outreach and homeless prevention organization that addresses the needs of those in a housing crisis or lack basic needs for survival.
It serves a seven-county region including Ashe County. In it is the only shelter of its kind in northwest North Carolina.
According to Todd Carter, director of development of the Hospitality House, 16 percent of the shelter’s residents last year came from Ashe County. This means Ashe County was the No. 2 county for people served by the shelter in 2015.
Altogether, this translates to 5,715 bed nights for Ashe County’s homeless.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick,” said Carter.
By comparison, 58 percent of the shelter’s residents were from Watauga County.
In 2015, at least 40 people in Ashe County were identified as homeless, but local advocates say that number could be more than 100.
Hospitality House’s emergency shelter is comprised of two male and two female dorm rooms that house a total of 24 residents with a potential for eight overflow beds, according to the organization’s website. Each client of the shelter is counseled and their homeless situation is evaluated.
Clients are then guided through the steps necessary to begin rebuilding their lives while then providing the structure of accountability they need to be successful, according to hospitalityhouseofboone.org. The average stay for a client at the emergency shelter is 23 days, said Carter.
Not everyone in the community qualifies for the shelter, but the Hospitality House does offer three daily meals, showers and laundry facilities.
Hospitality House also offers transitional and family housing, as a total of 68 percent of homeless in the region are women and kids, said Carter.
If you are homeless
In order to stay at the shelter, all residents must provide verification of homelessness. This may include an eviction notice, a statement from a family member or friend or a statement from a community member, according the shelter’s website.
The Hospitality House typically has a waiting list for lodging. It’s also a substance free facility. Each resident must take a Breathalyzer daily and is subject to random drug screening. Failure to comply can result in a ban. Each resident is also expected to perform daily chores.
For more information, call (828) 264-1237.