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‘It’s life and death’: Nonprofit helping homeless ahead of Code Purple, bitter cold

By Andrew James

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — The Asheville Homeless Coalition has called Code Purples for Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22-23, because of cold weather.

However, this week, as in recent weeks, there is not a shelter option currently available.

“It’s life and death, so we want to make sure that people are staying safe,” said Amy Cantrell, of BeLoved Asheville.

BeLoved Asheville advocates for and supports the homeless community in Buncombe County. The group packed “winter survival kits” Sunday afternoon, Nov. 21. Each kit contains warm socks, gloves, a hat, tent, sleeping bag and other cold weather-related items.

“We have huge gaps and we know that — that’s again why we’ve been vigorously advocating for more shelter that all different types of people can access,” Cantrell said of the needs of the homeless community in Western North Carolina.

Cantrell and BeLoved Asheville will spend this week taking the winter survival kits out into the community.

She said they will drive around the county looking for anyone who does not have a place to go during the cold.

“We’re finding people often, they’re shivering in the cold,” Cantrell said. “We’ve found whole families in vehicles, and there are people — literally hundreds of people out in our community — that don’t have the shelter that they need.”

So far, the nonprofit has given out more than 300 kits. Each kit costs around $50, and they are purchased with community support.

If you’re interested in donating or sponsoring a winter survival kit, visit Get Involved – BeLoved Asheville.

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