Volunteer Ministry Center breaks ground on East Knoxville housing development

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Volunteer Ministry Center along with members of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and elected city officials put shovels in the ground Wednesday to mark the beginning of new housing development in East Knoxville.

Caswell Manor, located at 1501 E. Fifth Ave., will have 48 one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments, each with its own kitchen. The building will also house VMC case management offices, dining rooms, computer lab, and laundry room.

Services will include interpersonal counseling, skills training, workforce reentry training, education, financial literacy, life enrichment, field trips and more. Property attendants will be on site around the clock, seven days a week, with weekday professional case managers working in close cooperation with the McNabb Center and Cherokee Health Systems.

Caswell Manor will continue VMC’s mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness. The apartment complex is the nonprofit’s second serving those experiencing homelessness, the first being Minvilla Manor. Unlike Minvilla Manor, Caswell Manor’s design is built to help those recovering from trauma.

“Permanent supportive housing works to solve chronic homelessness,” VMC CEO Bruce Spangler said at the groundbreaking. “Caswell Manor will build on the success of Minvilla Manor to place more people in permanent, stable housing. VMC and our community partners are prepared to offer all of the necessary services to ensure a positive, lasting and cost-effective outcome.”

Volunteer Ministry Center received more than $10 million in state, federal and private financing for investment into the Knoxville community, including a THDA Tennessee Housing Trust Fund grant and $1.4 million from the city’s Affordable Rental Development Program.

The housing development should be completed by fall 2022.

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