Knoxville City Council addresses new homelessness plan

Knoxville City Council addresses new homelessness plan

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"It ranges from transportation, to what do you do about people who have pets and that creates a problem for getting into housing, to how can we involve active military in looking at prevention of homelessness for veterans," explained Michael Dunthorne. "It ranges from transportation, to what do you do about people who have pets and that creates a problem for getting into housing, to how can we involve active military in looking at prevention of homelessness for veterans," explained Michael Dunthorne.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A new plan to address homelessness in Knoxville is taking shape. Knoxville City Council met Thursday at a workshop to give input on the plan.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero introduced the plan to the council.

"It's a vision of goals and strategies that we can all work on together," Mayor Rogero said in the workshop.

The draft of the plan was introduced in January and the city has spent the last two months hearing public comment.

The plan was created with the help of the Mayor's Roundtable on Homelessness which is made up of community leaders, ministries and organizations that work to help the homeless.

Thursday night Mayor Rogero appointed two more people to the Roundtable, Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan and a member of the Homeless Collective, a group of homeless and former homeless individuals.

Michael Dunthorne, the project manager for the City's Office on Homelessness outlined the plan to the council.

The five main goals are:

  • provide leadership, collaboration and engagement
  • Improve the crisis response system
  • Create and maintain access to variety of decent, appropriate, affordable permanent housing
  • Increase economic opportunities
  • Improve health and stability

"It ranges from transportation, to what do you do about people who have pets and that creates a problem for getting into housing, to how can we involve active military in looking at prevention of homelessness for veterans," explained Dunthorne.

He explained this is different from the 10 Year Plan, which was established in 2006. The plan draws from the Compassion Knoxville public input process from 2011 and the successful components of the 10 Year Plan.

"The 10 year plan was focused  on one piece of the issue, it was the 10 year plan to end chronic homelessness, this plan is broad in scope, so it also looks at that but it also looks at veterans, families, folks who are homeless for short term, strategies for preventing homeless so it runs the whole gamut," said Dunthorne.

The city has not come up with a bottom dollar for the cost to implement the plan, but Mayor Rogero said at this time there is not enough funding to put all the plan's goals in place. It will be a gradual rollout.

City Council will vote on the implementation of the plan during their April meeting.

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