Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asheville-area rents have increased by 41.7%, according to the Ending Unsheltered Homelessness Report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Studies show that homelessness rises faster when families are paying more than 30% of their income on housing. To that end, Buncombe County has hired Lacy Hoyle as its first Homeless Program Manager. “Homelessness impacts our entire community, and our Commissioners are committed to reducing the number of individuals who experience homelessness,” notes Assistant County Manager Sybil Tate. “This position is tasked with coordinating the County’s existing programs, such as housing and health services, along with the services the City provides as the lead agency for Federal homelessness funding.”
In January, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners attended a presentation by NAEH concerning ways to reduce homelessness. “Lacy will play a critical role in helping implement the recommendations that were included in the NAEH report. She will partner with the City’s staff as they support the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee to reduce the number of individuals in our community who experience homelessness,” explains Sybil.
Having lived in Asheville for more than two decades, Lacy brings a portfolio of diverse skills from her nonprofit experiences. “I was attracted to this position because it represents an opportunity for me to challenge myself to think on a larger scale about homelessness in our County, and I am excited to be an integral part of the continued development of an efficient, collaborative, and highly effective system of care for the unsheltered population here,” says Lacy. She plans on leveraging her street-level experience to improve existing efforts while innovating new services, such as her short-term goal of developing a supportive services resource map and identifying ways to bolster collaborative efforts with community partners to better streamline services for the unhoused and those at risk of losing housing. “My primary long-term goal is to actively engage with our community in finding solutions to unsheltered homelessness in our community and to effect positive change for that population, local business owners, and homeowners affected by unsheltered homelessness and all of the challenges that come along with it,” explains Lacy.
Community Development Division Manager Matt Cable heads up the division housing the Homeless Program Manager. “Lacy differentiated herself during the interview process because of her ability to take her collective experiences and channel those into thoughtful and clear responses that communicated her obvious desire to make a difference for those experiencing homelessness in this community,” explains Matt. “She will be providing regular updates on the homelessness response to the Affordable Housing Committee and Board of Commissioners as we continue to move forward.”
Ultimately, Lacy says the County’s work in this area is about providing safe shelter and affordable housing solutions noting, “It benefits not only the household receiving those services, but our entire community in that it increases safety and security on our streets and in our neighborhoods. When people are given shelter, they become better able to address issues in their lives that may have led to their homelessness initially.”
Lacy began her work as the Homeless Program Manager on Aug. 7. For more information and resources on the County’s Affordable efforts, click here. If you or someone you know is unhoused or close to losing their housing, you can view resources here or call 211 for immediate assistance regarding housing, food instability, and more.
Lacy Hoyle’s professional bio
Lacy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2005. A resident of Asheville for 22 years, she has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector in our community. She began her career at Eliada Home, assisting in the startup of its first Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) on campus, working as a Lead Residential Counselor in that facility. She worked for RHA Behavioral Health Services providing Behavioral Health Case Management for one year, and then for Western North Carolina Community Health Services providing Housing Case Management for the Housing Opportunities for People with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program for one year.
She accepted a position as a Medical Case Manager with the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) in 2010. During her tenure with WNCAP, she provided Medical Case Management to people living with HIV/AIDS for nine years, most notably working with the North Carolina CAPUS program providing targeted case management services to minority and underserved populations in the Western North Carolina Region. In 2019, she accepted a position as the Case Management Coordinator at WNCAP, providing leadership and management of the Medical Case Management team serving 18 counties in Western NC. In 2021, she was promoted to Director of Client Services at WNCAP. In this capacity, she led the continued development and growth of the HOPWA program in our region, doubling the capacity of the program in the first year, as well as leading the Housing Case Management team, Medical Case Management team, Peer Support team, and 340B Pharmacy Services at the agency.
In August 2022, she began working with Homeward Bound as the Director of Rapid Rehousing and Prevention Services, securing increased yearly funding to ensure continued growth of Rapid Rehousing and Prevention programs for Veterans and Civilians. She is excited to bring programmatic expertise and many years of focused, person-centered experience working directly with some of the most vulnerable of our unsheltered population, to the Homeless Program Manager position with the County.