Local agencies seek funding for homeless shelter - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local agencies seek funding for homeless shelter

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- One in four children in our area do not know where their next meal is coming from.

Some of those children are homeless. And on cold nights, they, like their parents, are looking for a warm place to sleep.

Several local agencies are teaming up to open an emergency shelter for the cold months ahead, but they need the city's help to fund it.

Chattanooga's homeless have been fed, but they will have to find somewhere else to sleep.

"We actually have to shut the doors to watch people go and sit out on the curb with their bags," Jens Christensen says. "It happens every day."

Robin Cordle knows the routine. She chose homelessness over an abusive relationship two years ago.

She was sleeping under Veterans Bridge.

"The police came down and told us we couldn't stay there," Cordle says. "Came back the next night, we told them we don't have anywhere else to go. Can you offer a solution? They couldn't. They took us to jail."

It was Cordle's first arrest. She heads to court Tuesday morning.

Monday night, she's headed to the only overnight shelter in town.

The rescue mission has 50 beds, and 16 are for women.

The 36-year-old college student is hoping to shower, sleep and catch up on school work.

"It's hard to be able to go to school and still be homeless, and still be able to do homework, keep your books dry, keep everything you need, keep my uniform clean," Cordle says.

Soon, Cordle will have the option of staying at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

Each year it opens an emergency shelter during the coldest months.

"We've had as many as 200," Christensen says. "In fact, last year, we had over 700 individuals, different people, who stayed with us."

The bed mats have been sanitized and are ready to go for the cold months. But, the community kitchen is still in need of blankets, socks, coats, gloves and other things to keep people warm.

The facility also needs funds.

It's partnered with the homeless coalition to ask city leaders for $75,000 to run the shelter.

Robin Cordle is hoping the city comes through.

She didn't plan on being back this year, but being homeless wasn't a part of her dream either.

She just wants people to know the help is appreciated.

"We're not just a bunch of drunk, alcoholic bums that do nothing," Cordle says.

Homelessness impacts dozens of children in our area.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank says one in four children don't know where their next meal is coming from.

The food bank has seen a 28 percent increase in the number of elementary school children who need meal assistance.

The homeless coalition is hoping to help those children by helping their parents.

Part of the funding the coalition is asking for would cover life skills classes and job training to help Chattanooga's homeless.

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