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Agencies win $400,000 grant to help homeless

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, two local organizations have been granted $398,825 in additional funding from the federal government through the CARES act.

Thrive and Blue Ridge Health worked in partnership to apply for funding in two different programs to maximize the impact on homeless relief efforts in Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania counties.

Thrive, a nonprofit based in Hendersonville, will use their portion of the funding for housing, while Blue Ridge Health will use the funding for homeless outreach. Thrive already has a Housing Case Management program that provides permanent housing and case management to approximately 40 households in the 4-county region. Thrive’s Executive Director, Kristen Martin, emphasizes the importance of getting people into housing so that they can be safe and stay healthy, “It’s very difficult to maintain social distancing or to self-quarantine if you are living outside with several other people. We believe that housing is healthcare.” The additional funding from the CARES act will allow Thrive to double their current caseload and house 40 additional households.

Blue Ridge Health will expand the organization’s homeless outreach services already in Henderson County to include Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania counties.

“The additional funding from the CARES act will be vitally important to our region because services for people experiencing homelessness have been severely reduced since March due to COVID-19,” said Dr Richard Hudspeth, Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ridge Health. Many of the places that previously provided this outreach have had to reduce their hours of operation or even shut down completely. With the additional outreach funding, Blue Ridge Health will work to connect unsheltered individuals to shelter services, help people apply for housing services, and even assist homeless individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in getting to one of the area hotels providing shelter so they can self-quarantine.

For more information about Blue Ridge Health’s homeless outreach services, call 828-233-2205 or visit the website at For more information about Thrive’s Housing Program, call 828-697-1581 or visit the website at