Stories of Us: Haywood St. Congregation
On the edge of Downtown Asheville, in an area known as the "homeless corridor", stands a unique mission congregation of the United Methodist Church. Haywood Street Congregation has stood a pillar in the houseless and poverty-stricken community since it's foundation by Rev. Brian Combs in 2009.
With their mission statement as "Relationship, above all else", Haywood St. is home to 6 core ministries: The Haywood Street Gardens, God's Outfitters, Worship, Respite, the Downtown Welcome Table and Haywood Street Fresco. Most widely recognized in the Downtown Asheville area is their Welcome Table on Wednesdays and Sundays. Local restaurants collaborate with Haywood Street's in-house chefs to create a family-style meal free and open to everyone. This includes you! Enjoy an unforgettable meal with cloth napkins and flowers next to new friends from diverse communities, "a fork and spoon invitation to a prince and pauper alike."
What have they been up to lately?
"Although we have had to pivot, pivot, and pivot again throughout the pandemic, our lights have stayed on and our core programs have stayed open and active. We are currently providing over 1,500 made-from-scratch meals per week to folks in our community. At the beginning of the pandemic, Respite housed 9 of our most vulnerable, un-housed friends. We've now returned to accepting referrals, as normal, all contingent on negative COVID test results."
- Brook van der Linde, Lead Storyteller/ Communications Haywood Street Congregation
Coming up for 2021: Haywood Street Community Development!
After a growth journey of 6 years, a 42-unit apartment building is finally set for construction in Downtown Asheville. Intended to provide housing for low to no income residents, Haywood Street Community Development will continue to focus on "relationship, above all else" and create a long-standing community with future developments across Buncombe County.