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Waynesville leaders have their work cut out to winnow down the glut of applicants for a new homeless task force.

The Mountaineer reviewed the enormous stack and compiled a cursory overview of the applications. The following snapshots don’t necessarily do justice to the heartfelt cover letters and resumes that accompanied many of the applications.

How many will be chosen from this list is unknown. Also, agency leaders not listed here could be tapped. There were 31 applicants in all, but two live outside Haywood County and aren’t eligible, leaving 29 contenders below.

John Baus: owner of Love Lane Bed and Breakfast and former attorney, judge and prosecutor in Louisiana

“I am a nearby neighbor and business owner, have experience in both legal and property issues, and extensive experience in problem analysis and resolution of conflicts.”

Juleah Berliner: addiction specialist/social worker at Meridian Behavioral Health

“I would like to help our community address concerns in a respectful, kind, helpful and effective way.”

Wanda Brooks: property owner across the street from Pathways

“I feel I can contribute input on behalf of other residents, businesses and property owners. I have seen and experienced the negative effects on the neighborhood.”

• Chad Brown: owner of Hazelwood Gun and Tactical

“Future of the Hazelwood area is impacted by the influx of vagrant activity.”

• Dale Burris: former Haywood County facilities and maintenance director

“I have seen the effects of homelessness in my neighborhood and have worked with homeless people while working on the Haywood Pathways Center. I gained lots of insight into the hardships these people face. It has influenced my opinion on how to address the homelessness issue.”

• Nathan Cartwright: peer support specialist with Pathways and formerly homeless

“I have a true insight into how it feels to be homeless and the pros and cons of some of the local charities. I have ideas on programs and other areas that could be developed or improved.”

• Bob Cummings: former substance abuse prevention specialist and program director of Knox Area Rescue Ministries and Western Carolina Rescue Mission

“I have a vested interested in preserving the beauty of my city and serving those who are in need of help who are trying to help themselves.”

• Keri Guidry: case manager at Haywood Pathways Center

“I live in Hazelwood and work with the homeless every day. I have worked in the mental health and substance abuse field for over seven years.”

• Bill Guy: director of the Open Door and former Marine/combat veteran

“I am a faith-driven servant who has devoted his life to social justice. I am committed to building interagency coalitions that can effectively address the causes of homelessness in Haywood County.”

• Peggy Hannah: Hazelwood resident

“I live near Pathways and see daily the issues and want to be a part of the solution.”

• Amy Hendricks: current program coordinator for N.C. Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program and former Healthy Haywood Coordinator

“I want to see local businesses thrive, but this cannot happen if we as a community turn a blind eye to the issues surrounding homelessness. I am hopeful we as a committee can come together to find a solution for the greater good of everyone involved.”

• Laura Howell: volunteer with Open Door and former downtown Waynesville retail industry

“I am deeply concerned about the welfare of those in need and also the welfare and success of our local businesses.”

• Shelbia Dyer-Hyatt: Hazelwood resident and retired affordable housing specialist with Mountain Projects

“My past connections and dedication to the underserved in our community can be used to help explore sustainable solutions to our homeless situation. Homelessness is a multifaceted predicament that needs more than a one size fits all solution.”

• Jon Lynn McDermott: resident who lives near the Open Door soup kitchen

“I am a homeowner who has been affected by the homeless crisis. I feel the task force must be diverse, including residents.”

• Andrew Morgan: resident with penchant for helping

“I deeply care about people, the community and helping others. I take time to speak with many homeless people and have been making care packages and distributing them on my own.”

• Neese Morris: retired civic-minded community member

“I believe I can contribute a positive perspective. I have experience with people in all walks of life. Very people oriented.”

• Amy Murphy: professor of social work at WCU, lives downtown

“I have over 20 years of practice, policy and research experience in affordable housing and community economic development. There are certainly challenges for our community to address related to homelessness — I also believe these challenges may be considered through an asset-based approach that may leverage opportunities yet unrealized.”

• Linda Nulsen: social worker

“I have vast experience in dealing with issues of homelessness, substance abuse and mental health, and a broad perspective of this complicated issue that is affecting Haywood County.”

• Joey Reece: retired federal DEA agent, including regional director roles, and deputy director of Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

“This issue was the cornerstone of my alderman campaign. Nearly 1,000 people voted for me largely due to my stance on this issue, and I would like to continue to represent these citizens. I am a subject matter expert in all aspects of the current opioid/heroin/fentanyl/meth epidemic.”

• Ron Reid: former Waynesville B&B owner, planning board member and police officer

“I strongly believe the task force and planning board should work together for the overall well-being of the people in the community and the future planning of Frog Level.”

• Clifford Ruff: life-long resident of Waynesville

“I think the homeless situation has affected my neighborhood directly and I understand both sides of the issue.”

• Joslyn Schaefer: Rector for Grace Church in the Mountains

“I recognize the complexity of this issue and would be honored to help the town identify the ‘best possible’ way forward, knowing there is no ‘easy fix.’ In a group setting with diverse and passionate people, I excel at helping individuals hear one another clearly and stay focused on the task at hand.”

• Lynda Schoenbeck: private practice counselor and therapist, former social worker

“I believe my over 30 years experience as a clinical social worker and social services administrator working in and supervising programs that address the social/cultural/economic barriers that contribute to the issue of homelessness would be helpful to the homeless task force.”

• Miranda Shuler: resident and legal assistant for private law firm

“I deal with this issue on a daily basis and I want to help fix the problems and help those in need. As a research-based, problem-solving type person, I will hear all sides to help formulate a plan of action.”

• Marie (Billye) Simmers: PhD in Health Psychology and retired director of state services for Brain Injury and Mental Illness in Connecticut

“I believe it is vital to identify the root causes of homelessness and evaluate the resources available.”

• Dustin Smith: owner of Triangle Auto

“I own a business within one block of Pathways and I am directly impacted by what goes on there and have experience dealing with vagrants on or about my property.”

• Barbara Stuteville: former administrative coordinator for the Open Door

“I was once homeless. I have worked at Meridian and the Open Door. I know what the homeless people in Frog Level need and want.”

• Stephanie Sutton: owner of Mountaineer Oxygen Services

“I think a ‘hand up’ approach vs. ‘hand out’ approach is effective and very much needed. I want to see our town leaders and our community combat this homeless issue with compassion, understanding and with proven approaches/plans and accountability.”

• Roger Thomas: retired commercial real estate property manager

“I have experience with the issues of homelessness and substance abuse in my family, with a family member who has lived in Pathways several times over the last four years.”

• Brandon Wilson: director of Veterans Services of the Carolinas with Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry

“My experience with working with high-risk and vulnerable populations has given me the ability to drive impact on both a local and statewide efforts addressing both homelessness and employment.”

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