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Refugees threaten security, crowd told
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:38

From Staff Reports

EAST FLAT ROCK — Refugees should be shown compassion, but only if security concerns are met first, 11th District U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows told a throng of more than 225 people during a town hall meeting Aug. 23 at Blue Ridge Community College.

Most of the attendees appeared to agree with Meadows’ assessment, as he was greeted with a hail of applause when he said, “What really concerns me right now is... there are enemies that are trying to take advantage of our generosity as a country.”

However, there appears to be a schism on concern about resettling refugees in the area, as mostly conservative Henderson County residents are raising worries, while more liberal Buncombe County seems to be more accepting of them.

Regarding the effort to bring about 150 refugees to Asheville, David Gantt, chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, said on Aug. 24 that he has heard some opposition to the effort.

Yet, the number of critical comments has been far less than the “overwhelming support” he has heard for the idea, Gantt said.

Meadows, who fielded questions read by a moderator for 75 minutes,  left immediately afterward. The questions for Meadows were written and submitted in advance by members of the audience.

The possibility that some refugees might come from Syria and commit acts of terrorism while in the United States was a major concern for Jackson County Republican Meadows — and to many audience members. Jackson is seeking re-election to a third term.

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Affordable housing crisis? It must be fixed, panel says
Thursday, 08 September 2016 10:36

From Staff Reports 

Asheville’s affordable housing crisis could shackle economic growth and the city’s ability to retain workers, community leaders said during an Aug. 24 meeting at downtown Asheville’s Renaissance Asheville Hotel.

 Public, private and nonprofit representatives came together to grapple with Asheville’s affordable housing crisis and to discuss potential solutions during Leadership Asheville’s “Finding Shelter: Asheville’s Housing Challenge” panel discussion.

The Asheville Summer Buzz Breakfast series program, organized by UNC Asheville, featured speakers from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, the Asheville Housing Authority, First Citizens Bank and Dewey Property Advisors.

While low-wage workers are vital to the smooth functioning of Asheville’s tourism economy, about one out of three of them are paying more than half their income on housing, panelist Andry Barnett, executive director of Asehville Area Habitat for Humanity, said, adding, “This is a huge, huge challenge for this community.”

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