Protests, affordable housing highlight City Council meeting

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tuesday, the Knoxville City Council met in person for the first time since last March.

The meeting did not go without interruption. Members of the community are still grieving the loss of Anthony Thompson Jr. and they expressed that grief at the meeting.

Demonstrators interrupted the meeting with chants and calls for justice for the 17-year-old. Mayor Kincannon called a brief recess, then the council got back to business.

Constance Avery and Rev. Calvin Skinner were escorted out and arrested on charges of disrupting a meeting or procession. The family of Thompson Jr. was present in silent protest.

One of the big items on the agenda was taking steps to establish affordable housing in the city. The council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that puts a trust fund in place specifically for affordable housing.

The ordinance includes a budget proposal for at least 5 million dollars per year for at least 10 years for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2021.

“Oh I think it’s great. We’ve been working on it since the beginning of the year. I think it gives them hope. The idea that they will be able to afford something and it’s safe and it’s decent and it’s something that will provide not only a roof over their heads, but a good place for them to be able to call home.”

Jan Evridge – Affordable Housing Ordinance Volunteer

The council voted to establish the fund, but the budget still needs to be approved. City Council will likely vote to approve the budget on May 18.

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