Despite Low Unemployment, Evictions Plague Asheville: One Nonprofit Offers Help

Host Frank Stasio talks with Robin Merrell, managing attorney at Pisgah Legal Services, about its Total Eviction Response program and Buncombe County’s housing crisis.

News Story (North Carolina)

Frank Stasio, Dana Terry
WUNC (Chapel Hill)
March 22, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) (North Carolina)


There were an estimated 2,200 evictions in Buncombe County last year, according to reporting from The Asheville Citizen-Times. This statistic has many wondering: With Asheville’s booming economy and the historically low unemployment rate, why are its residents struggling to pay rent?

The Asheville-based nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services looked into the numbers and discovered that out of 2,200 evictions filed in 2016, 1,300 evictions were granted leaving about 3,000 people displaced. To curb this problem, they created the Tenant Eviction Response program, which offers on-the-spot assistance for those at eviction court in Buncombe County.