News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on December 17, 2021

Water and sewer expansion and supporting individuals to conquer addiction are both transformative for a community’s health and both fall under the work of counties. Transylvania County is going to be tackling both thanks to the partnership with Dogwood Health Trust. Commissioners approved accepting two grants on December 13 that will bring new transformative investments into the county.

“Our county has been working to establish strategic approaches to improve our community. The Dogwood funding that we are receiving is going to help us move those strategies forward, leverage funding from other sources and make meaningful investments in our citizens’ health. We are thankful to have the alignment of mission with Dogwood Health Trust to improve lives and magnify our impact,” Board of Commission Chairman Jason Chappell said.

Recovering from the impacts of the Opioid Crisis

Building Paths to Treatment and Recovery in Transylvania County builds on Transylvania County’s C.A.R.E Coalition community collaborative that focuses on reduction of substance misuse and underage drinking. C.A.R.E received federal funds under the Drug Free Communities Program that began prevention work housed in Transylvania Public Health and then secured a grant from UNC School of Government and Blue Cross Blue Shield for opioid crisis response. C.A.R.E led the community in Opioid Impact Response work that created strategic partnerships in the community and formed a strategic plan that address the many impacts the Opioid Crisis has had in Transylvania County.

Dogwood has awarded $306,504 to help C.A.R.E take next steps in their nationally recognized work and to help the county prepare for decisions on how to utilize opioid settlement funds. Terms are being reached for the National and State Opioid Litigation Settlements that could bring new funding to the county to support taking next steps in the strategic plan.

“As Health Director I appreciate the vision and support of Dogwood Health Trust as we collaborate to address the complexities of opiate response and prevention work in Transylvania County,” Transylvania Public Health Director Elaine Russell said.

“The opioid settlement provides a unique opportunity for counties to strengthen their response to opioid use disorder treatment and prevention. Dogwood is proud to help our county partners leverage those settlement funds for the greatest possible impact,” said Dr. April Bragg, Senior Impact Officer who leads Dogwood Health Trust’s substance use disorder and behavioral health work.

The next phase of work will continue to build capacity for the initiative and provide county leaders with information that will support county leader’s decisions around settlement fund uses that will provide the most impact.

“Mental health and substance misuse has emerged year after year as main health priorities for Transylvania County. We know through extensive research that the approaches suggested by the NC Opioid Settlement MOU make observable impacts in communities, in the lives of people with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and in their families. This grant will help us dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding SUD, build skills among professionals who intersect with people who use drugs, and explore which evidence-based efforts might be most impactful in Transylvania County,” C.A.R.E Program Director Kristen Gentry said.

Building Housing Solutions

ARPA Advantage- Transylvania County Infrastructure Expansion and Study to Support Affordable Housing Development will provide funding to combine with funding from the County’s ARPA funding, Department of Commerce Grant, and Appalachian Regional Commission funding to install water and sewer with the Town of Rosman along the US 64 corridor from Cashier’s Valley Road to the Town.

The sewer line project initiated to support economic development by providing infrastructure to serve expansion plans of Gaia Herbs. The Dogwood Health Trust grant of $2,037,500 will support adding a water line installation within the same project. The infrastructure expansion will make more properties able to support density for affordable and workforce housing projects as well as economic development. Available land with infrastructure is one of the challenges that affordable and workforce housing projects face, making investments in infrastructure a critical component in achieving safe and affordable housing. The agreement outlines the intent to support housing and requires 84 affordable units to locate as an outcome of the project. If those units do not occur, the county has agreed to put $1.6 million of fund balance, equivalent to the funding for capital improvement in the grant, into a land trust reserve to support housing initiatives.

The grant will also support asset assessment and capital planning for the Town of Rosman Water and Sewer, a county-wide Housing Plan and an assessment of improvements and expansion of the Burlingame system acquired by the Town of Rosman last year.

“The combined impact of the infrastructure projects these funds will bring to the table are transformational for our county. The Dogwood grant combines investment in infrastructure with planning elements that will position the Town of Rosman to continue to seek funding and approach expansion strategically,” Transylvania County Commission Vice Chair Jake Dalton said.

“We are pleased to support the Town of Rosman’s vision and planning for more affordable and workforce housing in Transylvania County,” said Sarah Grymes, VP of Impact – Housing at Dogwood Health Trust. “Infrastructure is a key first step, and we believe that leveraging the ARPA funding opportunity in this way will deliver greater impact for area residents.”

For additional information, contact:

Recovering from the impacts of the Opioid Crisis- Kristen Gentry [email protected]

Building Housing Solutions- Jaime Laughter [email protected]

About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing. With a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity and health and wellness, Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn, and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.