Communities Homes

Spotlight On: Homeward Bound’s Compass Point Village

Compass Pointe Village front entrance

By Emma Castleberry

Homeward Bound has opened a new permanent home for 87 of Buncombe County’s chronically homeless community members. Compass Point Village provides safe, stable apartments to these individuals just in time for the harsh winter weather. “These are folks who have been living unhoused for at least a year, and often for decades, and they will be inside this winter rather than battling the cold to stay alive,” says Eleanor Ashton, who was the senior resource development director for Homeward Bound prior to her retirement in November.

Roy showing his new apartment to Homeward Bound staff

This is Western North Carolina’s newest and largest Housing First-based apartment complex that provides Permanent Supportive Housing services on-site. The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) model has demonstrated effectiveness in resolving chronic homelessness by reducing clients’ interactions with the criminal justice system and other public systems. “Compass Point Village is not a shelter or transitional housing,” says Ashton. “It is permanent housing. In addition to a fully furnished studio apartment, residents have access to a peer support room, a library, an outdoor courtyard and a communal dining room. These spaces help foster a sense of community, allowing residents to feel connected to and invested in their environment and one another.”

Through partnerships with agencies like Sunrise Community for Wellness, MANNA FoodBank, Appalachian Mountain Health and the Equal Plates Project, Homeward Bound is able to provide a range of services at Compass Point Village, including behavioral health, social and educational activities, job training, meals and a medical clinic. Compass Point Village residents are selected through a community-based process called Coordinated Entry, which determines which individuals experiencing chronic homelessness are the most vulnerable. “They are prioritized to get housing placement and support for as long as they need it,” says Ashton.

Facilitating move-ins at Compass Point Village has been a powerful experience for case manager Sabrina Oakley. She remembers move-in day for her client Jeremy Trull, who goes by the name Tree. Tree has been living on the streets of Asheville for 13 years.

“On the way to Compass Point Village, he said the streets have beaten his spirit these last couple months,” says Oakley. “The will to survive was dimming for Tree.” Upon opening the door of his new apartment, that changed. “I could visibly see the weight of the world melt off this man,” Oakley says.

On that same day, Oakley helped Roy Worley move into the first real home he’d had in 30 years. Upon arriving, Worley went to each appliance asking, “Is this really mine?” “I just laughed and said yes it is,” Oakley remembers. “Roy fell to his knees in tears and said a prayer of gratitude and thanks and it was the most humbling experience I have ever had.”

Oakley recalls another client, Magic, who completely transformed after moving into his permanent apartment. “I have known Magic for five years and when he slept everything off, he came down to the courtyard to sit and I did not even recognize him,” she says. “It was like he had washed off 20 years of being in survival mode. That is what having a home does to our clients. It allows them to sit for a minute and realize they are safe and have everything they need without a fight. They transition into these beautiful humans that they were meant to be all along.”

More than $16.5 million has been raised for the purchase and renovation of Compass Point Village, from a wide range of individual, business, foundation and government donors. Homeward Bound has launched the Creating Hope and Homes matching gift challenge for 2023-24, so all donations made through the end of this year will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $75,000. To donate or learn more, visit


  • Great article. Sabrina, is that you playing corn hole? I’m proud of you and the organization hat changed these people’s lives. I can tell it is changing you also.

  • I had been homeless for over one year but had gotten housing 7 months previous to the opening of Compass Point Villiage. When I was homeless I stayed at the Rescue Mission during the night but spent my days either at AHope or Holy Chaos-aka Haywood Street Congregation Church down in their garden. I had seen Roy around all the time during that year I was homeless too but did not ever hear him talking and/or having fun or engaging with anyone else. Well that changed the Sunday after he got moved in to his apartment at Compass Point. I was on my nap bench down in the garden of Holy Chaos crocheting while I was waiting to go inside to eat at their Welcome Table and when he spotted me he eagerly came and sat on the other bench and began talking up a storm telling me ALL sorts of minute details about his new “forever home”. I was absolutely dumbfounded! Of course I recognized him but in EVERY way possible that gentleman had undergone this miraculous transformation!!!!! First of all he looked a good 30 years younger!!! And he was speaking with this boundless excitement and enthusiasm! To ME! Someone he had never even spoken to before! Never in my entire 64 years have I ever seen someone undergo such a transformation!! And that months ago. And it was NOT any sort of temporary change either. Every time I have seen him at Holy Chaos since then we always stop and take the time to catch up and he is still always excited to tell me of something new and wondrous. The man now just exudes joy and wonderment and gratitude. And I am SO grateful to every single person that has been involved in ANY way with any part of the process that brought Compass Point Villiage from the creative imaginations of some very loving and compassionate individuals all the way into the realm of its present physical reality that is now providing a “forever home” to Roy and to so many of our other brothers and sisters and given each of them a solid chance to live meaningful and productive lives and hopefully to help us all learn better and faster and more efficient ways to get the rest of our human family into safe and affordable housing and also how best to prevent unwanted homelessness for ANYone in the future.

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