New facility helps homeless families stay together - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New facility helps homeless families stay together

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  It's a problem cities across the country find themselves dealing with. In Chattanooga, more and more people are struggling with homelessness.

“I lost everything I had,” one man who spoke to Channel 3, but asked us not to use his name.

“Fifteen years ago, I had found myself. I had a house, a wife and kids,” he said.

For the last 14 years, he's spent the night sleeping along the street. Often times being run off by police.

“People don't have anywhere to go. You're like roaches,” he said, “If you've got family, you shouldn't let your family live like this.”

Chattanooga's Community Kitchen is giving homeless families something that's never been offered before in the area: A place they can stay together.

“It's where they go to have a place to stay on the very night they become homeless,” Jens Christiansen said.

The Maclellan Shelter for Families is currently under construction, slated to open its doors in mid-December.

Christiansen is the Executive Director at Chattanooga's Community Kitchen. He gave Channel 3 a tour of the 13 room shelter.

“If you look decades back, it used to be one of the scariest places for people to live and today because everyone has come together and vitalized our downtown, we're working on our social services. We're trying to help people,” he said.

Each room will have its own restroom, which is what sets this shelter apart, allowing families to stay together.

“Many of the other facilities actually have shared restrooms and that prohibits older boys staying with younger girls and things like that because of safety concerns,” he added.

Giving families a safe place to go when they need it most.

Facility leaders are allowing organizations and folks to sponsor a room to give the community a way to give back.

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