- Homeless Voice
- Street Medics
- Free Markets & Meals
- Community Gardens
- The Arts
- Social & Economic Justice
- Elder & Children's Enrichment
- Mutual Support Resource Center
- Neighborhood Fiesta Project
- Proud to be Brown
- No More Cages!
- Entrepreneurship & Opportunity
- BeLoved Mexico
- NEW Community Center!
Homeless Voice is an empowerment project where people who are experiencing homelessness or formerly homeless people amplify their voices in public policy that directly affects the homeless community and create projects that they lead to support the homeless community. BeLoved equips and resources these leaders to “be the people they have been waiting for.” Homeless Voice is about making people subjects rather than objects and seeks to help people reclaim their agency and exercise their leadership by giving them the resources and equipping them with the tools that they need to lead.
A project coming out of Homeless Voice, the street medics team trains to serve as “first, first responders” to the homeless community. Recognizing that “homelessness is the most fatal condition in the country” according to CNN and after Janet Jones froze to death on the streets of Asheville, folks decided that having members of the homeless community who were trained to support that community in medical crises was critical. The medics train under an EMT and can provide on-the-spot assessment and first aid on the streets and during our outreach times. We hold space for medics with herbal knowledge to also train the team in making our own natural medicinal remedies for pain, anxiety, depression, and other health issues as well as gaining knowledge from trained herbalists and other healthcare professionals. They also support the community in promoting better health through prevention and wellness work including sponsoring Health on the Streets, our annual street health fair in Pritchard Park.
Free Markets & Meals
We believe in the value of sharing and creating neighborhoods. We know that Asheville one of the top ten cities in the nation for food insecurity. Every week we open our table and spread tables across our community with healthy, nutritious foods gardened and gleaned right here in our community. We do this emphasizing dignity and building deep community roots by helping neighbors to get to know each other. Our hope is this will ripple out in strong neighborhoods that regularly share resources. Our Farmers Markets share food with tables spread with table cloths and food in baskets and are often accompanied by live music, food tasting, and nutrition lessons. We do several weekly throughout the community!
We believe in tending the earth and the neighborhood just under our feet! We trust that growing our own food is a powerful expression of living with the land and being able to share more healthy food in food deserts! We are honored to be a part of the Gardening Network through Bountiful Cities and love inviting neighbors, friends, and strangers to pick the harvest anytime!
Rise Up Studio is an artists collective where artists who are living in poverty or are experiencing homelessness can create art and music, heal through creativity, and sell their art to support themselves and their families in acquiring basic necessities. Our Street Musicians Guild supplies street musical artists with donated instruments, strings, storage, and recording support.
Social & Economic Justice
We believe that our call is to build what Dr. King called the beloved community where the categories of oppressed and oppressor no longer exist. We are as Dorothy Day said, “Building a new world in the shell of the old.” We have led the way on homeless rights projects and campaigns, honoring Dr. King’s martyrdom, and speaking out on cuts to necessary programs. Our most recent campaigns include: A Million Dollars for the People, Housing Not Handcuffs, and Stop the Housing Cuts. BeLoved was declared a sanctuary in the Sanctuary Movement in the spring of 2016 and was the first declared sanctuary in WNC. We also join partner groups such as NAACP Moral Mondays, People’s Voice on Transportation Equality, Center for Participatory Change, Just Economics WNC to support the rights of all people to the fullness of life!
Elder & Children’s Enrichment
Hosting educational and volunteer opportunities for children and youth, sharing children’s books to create at home libraries, back-to-school supply and backpack give-a-ways, and family support.
Mutual Support Resource Center
Offering a clothes closet and laundry, one-on-one support, (job and assistance applications, medical care, court advocacy, recovery, accompaniment), haircuts, and special programs for folks on the street, newly housed, and those living in poverty. The resource center works off of mutual support meaning that we do not have one class of people serving another, but all of us helping and resourcing each other in community. Everyone shares their gifts and everyone cares for each other!
We also offer an internet lounge for folks to use during our open hours. The space allows for 4-5 people using computers for extended times. It’s difficult to complete online tutorials or take regular online classes to build skills when operating within a time limit, or from a mobile device rather than a laptop or desktop. Libraries often require IDs and/or library cards, which presents yet another roadblock to those who may be missing these items. With access to free WiFi, like in a coffee shop or bookstore, one may not have the right device to be productive nor the funds to support the location as a paying customer. These folks may often be unwelcome and seen as loitering on the property. We want to welcome everyone to have access to these resources as often as possible.
Neighborhood Fiesta Project
After launching a 7 day (14 hours a day) emergency food operation when ICE was raiding our communities, we began a new initiative to build community power and defense systems in neighborhoods where our people feel at home. We are mobilizing leaders in their home communities who know their rights, are learning about community resources including health and legal supports, are practicing sharing their skills and support in their neighborhood. We want everyone to know that they are strong leaders and that they are the ones they have been waiting for. These leaders will be sharing the information about rights and resources with others that they know. Deeply in the culture of our people is the ethic of sharing. We are unleashing the power of our community, our leadership and our cultural values to keep our community safe and build the kind of world we long to see.
Proud to be Brown
Cultural art and youth initiative
A new cultural arts and leadership initiative with LatinX youth that involves cultural history, creating communal art pieces and community projects, and learning from local LatinX community leaders. BeLoved Core Team Member, Ponkho Bermejo, launched the first Proud to be Brown event in the summer of 2018 with 14 youth. Ponkho shares about ways that BeLoved is organizing power in LatinX communities and the importance of each youth being a leader to strengthen the LatinX community and the community as a whole!
No More Cages!
Deportation and mass incarceration
We know that the U.S. has the largest prison and deportation detention center population in the world. Significant numbers of these people are being held in privately run prisons making big profits for corporations. We know that this is deeply connected to the history of this country where indigenous people had their land stolen and were separated from their families through the Trail of Tears, boarding schools and more terrors. And where people were brought to these shores to be enslaved and where children were sold away from their parents and families separated by the slave system. Today, we have a mass school to prison pipeline affecting children of color and separating families. And we have caged children and separated families seeking asylum at our border. We must stand up to the evils of bondage for money. We must say a loud and resounding NO MORE CAGES!! NO MAS JAULAS!!
Entrepreneurship & Opportunity
We are working with community members to create work that works through entrepreneurship and supporting cooperative business incubation. Self determination and the tools to create opportunities are critical to success. Our liberation fund helps provide opportunities for people to thrive (helping a LatinX teen go to college after his father’s job loss, helping a single mom apply to college, helping provide tools to take a new job, providing laptops for people to go to school or a friend on the street to get their career going, supporting women of color in living out their vocational dreams).
BeLoved Mexico believes that love knows no border! We work with partners in Mexico to share school supplies, arts and music classes with children. We are sharing supplies and supporting people who have been harmed by our inhumane immigration systems. Many people who are deported do not return to their home countries which are dangerous and where they fear for their lives. Instead, many Salvadorans, Hondurans, Guatemalans will end up on the streets of Mexico without a home, family support, clothing, and other things they need. We help with providing basic necessities like shoes and clothing as well as sharing community and support.
New Community Center
We are EXCITED about our new community center on North Market Street on the third floor of this historic building. This will allow us to expand our hours and our projects. We will be able to engage more people as street medics, artists, skill-builders, and community advocates. We will be able to teach children and hold large community projects that are able to meet greater needs. We will be able to build greater capacity to create more innovative solutions to the toughest community struggles in ways that are TRANSFORMATIVE!
The community center works off of mutual support meaning that we do not have one class of people serving another, but all of us helping and resourcing each other in community. Everyone shares their gifts and everyone cares for each other!
We share special programs for the community free like music/art classes, Spanish/English language sharing, health and wellness programs like yoga, speakers on timely topics, and community concerts. Our internet lounge creates access to technology and resources. We offer one-on-one support in job and assistance applications, medical care, court advocacy, recovery access, and accompaniment. The Center will also offer ways for people to get active making the community better and in advocating for change! The Center has a dedicated art studio and gallery, healing space, internet lounge, and community gathering/working/event space!