The staff of the Asheville Housing Authority hosted a reception for Western North Carolina’s U.S. Attorney, Ms. Jill Westmoreland-Rose. Below is information from www.wlos.com detailing the event.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The new U.S. Attorney Western District of North Carolina wants to make Asheville’s public housing communities safer.
Jill Westmoreland-Rose was raised in Hendersonville then went onto law school at UNC. She said she wants to see change in the place she grew up and is pushing for a safer world in the 11 public housing communities where more than 3,000 Ashevillians live.
“They say, you know what, law enforcement is so focused on drugs, this is really an area of danger for us, let’s do something else, let’s pimp women,” Westmoreland-Rose said.
Westmoreland-Rose understands the real fears, like a shootout at the Hillcrest Apartments this past summer when parents and children took cover on porches.
“Drugs can kind of fester in a community, firearms can bring it to a whole different level,” Westmoreland-Rose said.
Westmoreland-Rose says the key is continued collaboration between her office, Asheville Police and the housing authority to take what’s been learned in other communities and make adjustments.
“We don’t want a Charlotte program in Asheville; we want to take what what we’ve learned from a Charlotte program and make a better one for Asheville,” Westmoreland-Rose said.
Housing authorities officials like Gene Bell are pleased with what they heard, as well as members of the community.
“It’s the feds that are offering us an opportunity to correct our problems and we’ve got to do that,” Bell said. “It’s got to be a collaboration.”
“Anything to make it better for the kids in the neighborhoods, in what they would call the projects,” resident O.T. Flowers said. “It’s a better thing because we need to do everything to keep our kids safe.”
There will be a series of community meetings to talk over potential programs and continue a dialogue between the groups who met Monday.