Chattanooga publishes plan to eliminate homelessness
Last March, a Chattanooga interagency formed to come up with a plan to combat homelessness in the Scenic City.
The interagency released a report in December detailing how the community can help homelessness.
The Chattanooga Community Kitchen reports there are more than 4,000 people who experience homelessness each year in Chattanooga. They estimate, over the last several years the number of homeless families has increased by nearly 300 percent.
There are a lot of stereotypes of what homelessness looks like. For some, it might be sleeping on the streets or panhandling. When in reality, homelessness in Chattanooga might surprise you.
"It's families, it's people aging out of foster care, it's seniors with health conditions, they're living on fixed incomes," Sam Wolfe explained.
Wolfe is the homeless program coordinator. His division within the City of Chattanooga has grown. They work with veterans experiencing homelessness and try to place them into housing or provide outreach services. Often times, those struggling don't know what's available to get them back on their feet.
"It may be more than that. More often than not, people experiencing homelessness don't want to come get help because of fear from stigma or safety concerns," Wolfe said.
The Chattanooga Interagency Council on Homelessness published a Homelessness Action Plan. It includes short-term and long-term recommendations to eliminate homelessness in the Scenic City.
"How do we identify them? How do we engage with them? How do we provide them with resources they need to begin the process and get them plugged into the system?" Wolfe said.
The 110-page report is broken up into four parts - identification, emergency shelter, housing and sustainability.
"Not just to throw them into housing and just abandoning them but making sure they have the ability to grow and not get back in their same situation of homelessness," Wolfe explained.
On Thursday, January 10, the Chattanooga Interagency Council on Homelessness (CICH) will offer an information session to educate members of the public on how to properly assist individuals experiencing homelessness. CICH members will also present details on their new Homelessness Action Plan.
The session will be held at the City's Homeless Program Office, which is located at 1714 Duncan Avenue, from 5:30-7:00 pm. The session is free, but those interested can RSVP.