MacLellan Family Shelter still in building phase, other options - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

MacLellan Family Shelter still in building phase, other options for homeless families

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The Maclellan Family Shelter is still in its building phase so homeless families can not go there yet for a warm nights sleep.
But people have been calling the Community Kitchen asking if its open yet and one family even stopped by looking for help.

"They came yesterday morning," said Exec. Dir. Jens Christensen, "And they really didn't know what to do because they had never been homeless before and they had no idea where they were going to turn."

Homeless families in Chattanooga have few options for a warm bed when it gets cold.

"We're 100 percent on target to open by December 15," Christensen said, "But there's really no way we can be open any sooner."
Knowing there is a need for a family shelter, but not a finished product, the Community Kitchen made some changes to its current set up.

"We're opening our day center and dining area to men, women and children and we're able to keep families together in separate rooms there," Christensen said, "But that does not answer the need for ongoing shelter."
Construction crews are working to finish up the new shelter just for families.

Typically homeless shelters split up families based on gender, even young boys older than 10 are separated from their mothers.

"There's trauma involved in separating the children from the parents, there's also trauma in homelessness," Christensen said, "So if you add that one more layer of trauma it really makes it more difficult for a family to stabilize."
The Maclellan Family Shelter will be open to any group of people with children.
Part of their stay will include taking part in a case management program.

"You will be able to get out of the cold, you'll be able to get to a safe place," said Maclellan Family Shelter Director Paul Luikart, "But our case management staff will then help each family with a case plan, with the idea of this will help you get to the next thing."

The Maclellan Family Shelter will open on December 15th as scheduled.
The shelter will be able to house 13 families for a maximum of 120 days.

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