KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The best way to help the homeless is by donating to the nonprofits and community organizations that provide relief and permanent housing, according to a roundtable discussion Wednesday at the City-County Building.

Shawn Griffith, co-coordinator of the city’s homeless program, pointed to organizations like Knox Area Rescue Ministry, Volunteer Ministry Center or other social service providers as a good place to start.

“In general we want to encourage individuals to donate directly to the agencies because that is where we can connect the dots to permanent housing,” Griffith said.

Griffith tells us he expects to see an overall increase in the city’s homeless population in the upcoming year. An official count will be done in late January.