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Carter Development Group Provides Final Draft of Cease the Harm Audit Report to Buncombe Commissioners

Dr. Adrian Carter and representatives from the Carter Development Group joined the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners for the March 19 briefing to provide the final presentation of the Cease the Harm Audit report draft. The audit, recommended by the Community Reparations Commission in 2023, assessed internal and external services for both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County to guarantee that cessation of harm to the African American community has actually occurred and confirms both the City and County are in compliance with federal and state laws, regulatory bodies, codes of conduct, court orders and consent decrees, and more.  

To conduct the audit, the Carter Development Group measured 30 metrics across seven focus areas resulting in 108 recommendations. 

The metrics include:  

  • Criminal Justice 
    • Recruitment & Training Procedures 
    • Traffic Stops & Searches 
    • Alternative Sentencing Programs  
  • Economic Development 
    • Small Business Development 
    • Access to Financing 
    • Government Procurement and Contracting 
  • Education 
    • Early Childhood Developmental Milestones 
    • Grant Funding Awareness 
  • Healthcare & Wellness 
    • Access to Healthcare 
    • Food Insecurity 
    • Wellness Services 
  • Housing  
    • Housing Market Dynamics 
    • Regulatory Compliance 
    • Housing Access and Support 

The audit recognized four thematic key harm observations: 

  1. Insufficient data-driven practices to determine the level of African American participation in County and City opportunities 
  2. Insufficient evaluation practices of grant recipients 
  3. Limited affordable housing supply for purchase or rental across the County and City compounded by a lack of cohesive strategy among County and City officials and key stakeholders 
  4. County and City governments’ staff lack wide-scale racial equity training to create baseline knowledge of equitable practices 

The audit also contained recommendations based on findings. These recommendations will be evaluated by the Community Reparations Commission for possible inclusion in its final report. While some recommendations, like including public health notifications in the BCAlert text messages from the County, may be immediately actionable, others like pursuing legislative changes in education may be more aspirational in nature. The County is planning its next five-year strategic plan, and many recommendations from this audit may be incorporated into that plan.  

“This is a truly significant juncture in our community’s history,” said Buncombe County Chief Equity & Human Rights Officer Dr. Noreal Armstrong. “With this audit, the Carter Group has identified real and meaningful ways our local governments have harmed African Americans. Moving forward, we can make a lasting commitment that we will no longer perpetuate these harms so we can build a better Buncombe for all residents.”  

The cost of the audit was $174,375 split between the two agencies. This is the first-known audit of its nature funded by a municipal and county government. 

Click here for the overview of the Cease the Harm Audit.  

Click here to read the full draft of the audit.  

Table: News Item Documents
File NameSizeTypeDate & Time Added
Cease The Harm Final Report 32 MB 03/19/2024 3:42 PM

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Updated Mar 22, 2024 02:22 PM
Published Mar 19, 2024 03:40 PM

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