Asheville Homeless Coalition Strikes Again…

NOTE:  This post was written by Tom, a member of AHN.  If you’d like a copy of the memo that he references, please email me and I’ll be glad to forward it to you.

In her memo (attached), Amy Sawyer has misrepresented the facts regarding the Asheville Homeless Network’s (AHN) meeting with the Transit Commission. AHN was seeking 20 bus passes per month for 12 months, and the Transit Commission said AHN had their full support in AHN’s submission of this request DIRECTLY to the Asheville City Council, not through some committee.

In her memo, Amy Sawyer is complaining that AHN is trying to solve problems on it’s own initiative: “The Homeless Network has been an active member of the Homeless Coalition this past year.  However, their request was not discussed with the Homeless Coalition before it was presented to the Transit Commission.”

Amy Sawyer is derailing AHN’s attempt to get bus passes for homeless people.  After AHN’s meeting with the Transit Commission AHN was going to meet with City Council, and Councilman Gordon Smith indicated he believed AHN had the votes. That process has been derailed by Amy Sawyer, who wants to take over something she didn’t start.  Amy was not invited to AHN’s meeting with the Transit Commission.  She heard about it and crashed it.

In her memo, Amy Sawyer says she wants to control who gets the passes: “Client activities and need related to bus tickets/passes would be documented in the Homeless Management Information System to provide oversight and accountability.  If there are agencies not using HMIS, alternate solutions for documentation would be considered.”  she also says “Clients receiving tickets/passes would use tickets/passes to get to appointments, work, and school or other activities related to their housing plan” – indicating she wants to approve the “housing plan” first.
– AHN’s proposal was that AHN set up it’s own guidelines for distributing the 20 bus passes, and those guideline are in the proposal, and will be followed. (Criteria: the person is active in an AHN community project, or the person provides documentation that they are looking for a job, or needs rides for medical care, and they attend 3 out of 4 AHN meetings per month – unless they are working then).  Other members of AHN I have spoken to are not interested in the bureaucratic red-tape involved with processes like Amy is talking about, and we don’t want someone else telling us who we can redistribute the passes to.  The way AHN works is we get donations, and we get the things we can for people that need them.  All donations go to homeless members (less very small operating costs, such as maintaining our website), ** THE OFFICERS/BOARD DO NOT GET ANY SALARY. **   [My opinion here does not necessarily reflect how AHN would vote on the matter of whether to get involved in such a re-tape process in order to get a few bus passes, or let others direct our business.]

AHN initiated this action on it’s own, as no other organizations were doing anything in this area.  In her memo, Amy Sawyer paints a picture that she has been doing that, and I don’t find that credible.  I request that the recipients of her memo, and other relevant persons, ask Amy Sawyer to produce documentation PROVING they were already working on getting bus passes for homeless people looking for jobs and housing.

Amy Sawyer is trying to take control of what AHN is trying to do.

In her memo, Amy Sawyer puts AHN’s efforts under “Areas of Consideration” at the end of the memo.  What a joke.  AHN is who got this going – and she is putting up a road block.

-Tom, Member of AHN

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