KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Justice Knox held their annual Nehemiah Action Assembly on Tuesday to discuss solutions for homelessness in the city.
Justice Knox is made up of 22 congregations in the Knoxville area, and the group aims to work with city and county leaders to tackle social issues. The assembly is held each year after meeting with the community and getting input on what issues to focus on.
John Harrison decided to attend the event and invite others after being encouraged by his church.
“I’ve got several friends who are interested in social justice issues as well, and two friends of the four I brought tonight, two live in Anderson County but they were interested enough that they wanted to see what was happening here in Knox County,” Harrison said.
He attends Westminster Presbyterian Church and said he is hopeful for the future after the meeting tonight.
“I just thought it was a very good meeting tonight, it was well attended and it was nice to see City Council affirm many of the requests that Justice Knox members were asking of them, so I think there’s going to be some progress further in the three main areas that we discussed, the micro-transit, the homelessness issue and the gun violence issue,” Harrison said.
Justice Knox has been working with city and county leaders on solutions for these issues. Co-president of Justice Knox Jacquelyn Bragg said they will work with the new Office of Housing Stability to tackle homelessness.
“We are hoping that it is a place where all the supportive agencies come together and get on the same page, you’ve heard people say rowing in the same direction so that we actually do come up with solutions to give people who are homeless permanent housing,” Bragg said.
Joe Maddox is the pastor of the Missionary Hope Baptist Church and said the support from the various congregations is what has made Justice Knox successful.
“What we’ve learned is, in order to get things done, we need people power. So, we are faith-based leaders, and we are trying to get people from our various congregations to fill up places like this so that people who are in charge know that we are sincere about it and that we are not just a few,” Maddox said.
Co-president of Justice Knox Jamie Keith said the organization has come a long way since it began in 2016.
“You know, to be recognized by our city leaders, by Mayor Kincannon, for bringing influence and support to this important work that’s being done in the city is pretty amazing,” Keith said.
Justice Knox is planning to hold a summit with city and county leaders to outline specific plans to tackle the issues.