OPPORTUNITY GAP: Community Context

 
 
 

Opportunity gaps are the result of disparities in access to the resources needed to be successful. Children are shaped by the inequities in our community. We’re sharing these issues to engage our community in closing these pervasive gaps throughout Asheville.

 

Demographics of Asheville City

City of Asheville Demographics

*US Census Bureau Data 2010 (Total Population: 87,531)
 

 

Housing

There is a lack of affordable housing in the Asheville area. All government-subsidized and tax credit rental properties are filled to capacity. This leaves our most vulnerable families and families of color with no place to live and no clear path to home ownership in sight.

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More About This Problem:

As more businesses are coming in to the Asheville area, housing rates have inflated to the point where families are unable to buy or rent homes. This has led to “Asheville’s housing crisis,” where only 2.8% of housing is vacant. The median price to buy a home in Asheville is around $280,000, up 40% from a decade ago. However, only 30% of people living in Asheville can afford a home priced over $200,000. This leaves many families with renting as their only option, but prices of rent have also soared making many rental options unaffordable; people with less than perfect credit encounter further barriers to securing more competitive rental properties. People of color are even less likely to find affordable rental properties and are less likely to own their homes than white families

Asheville has 10 Public Housing communities with 3,100 residents, and all of them are fully occupied with long wait lists. Some wait times are more than two years long. About 72% of these residents are people of color, .

Median Home Sale Price in City of Asheville by Thousands

Sources: Bowen National Research. (2015). Asheville, North Carolina Region Housing Needs Assessment. Prepared for the City of Asheville Community and Economic Development Department

https://wlos.com/

http://www.stateofblackasheville.org/

https://mymosaicrealty.com/

 

 

Mental Health

Access to mental health in the Asheville area is a challenge, particularly for low income families and people of color. People of color and low income families often face stigma when it comes to mental health concerns, and are less likely to have access to the resources needed should they choose to pursue mental health services.

Community Commitment: Join us in building the solution!

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In addition to diminished physical health, many children from low-income households may experience poor mental health and depression caused by a variety of factors such as domestic abuse, divorce, alcoholism, depressed parents, and issues requiring involvement from social service agencies.* Due to the discernible link between emotional well-being and educational success in children, many mental health professionals are advocating for increased social welfare counselors in the school system, with particular emphasis given to locations with high concentrations of childhood poverty, as these families are less likely to have access to the resources needed to address their challenges. Cross-state differences in state polices illustrate that elementary school students in states with more diligent school counselor policies achieved greater gains in standardized testing scores.

Source: Currie, 2009; Reback, 2010

 

 

Transportation

Lower socioeconomic families do not have the same access to reliable transportation the same way middle class and affluent families do. Unfortunately, this usually overlaps with race, meaning black families are more likely to experience challenges with reliable transportation than white families.

Community Commitment: Join us in building the solution!

More About This Issue

Families who do not have reliable transportation are more likely to miss doctor appointments, parent-teacher conferences, attend their child’s extracurricular activities, and are less likely to be offered employment. Families may even have trouble getting to the grocery store on a regular basis and this may lead them to buy more proceeded foods for the longer self-life. A major way families and individuals who do not have access to a vehicle commute is by public transportation. Asheville city transit has made some major changes in the way it operates to better serve the Asheville community. Asheville city transit currently logs about 5,371 boardings a day. A lingering concern among riders is commute time, on-time performance, and evening hours of operation. Some communities, such as Pisgah View Apartments, have lost bus stops, only leaving 1 remaining stop at the very edge of the community to service the neighborhood.

A study performed by Harvard University found commuting time as the single strongest factor in the odds of overcoming poverty. The longer an average commute in a given county, the lower the chances of low-income families had in moving up economic classes.

Need to catch a ride? Check out the Asheville City bus routes!

Sources: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/images/nbhds_exec_summary.pdf