City, local shelters helping with rising number of homeless people

City and shelter helping stop Knoxville homelessness
Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - KARM, a Knoxville homeless shelter and charity, has noticed a rise in the number of local homeless people in recent years. City officials are aware of this and are using federal funding to help by allocating $1 million in federal funds to help create new housing.

It’s loud and noisy under an I-40 bridge but, for some people, they call it home.

Knoxville resident Angel Chanelhouse said, “I just feel like I’m trapped in a sense.”

If you include everyone who lives down there, she said it can sometimes be scary.

Chanelhouse said, “It’s hard for a person. Especially a female. I suffer from PTSD.”

People still resort to living in this homeless camp even though KARM is about a block away.

Communications coordinator for KARM, Karen Bowdle, said, “We have not seen anything like this in years and folks who have been here longer than I have, they talk about never seeing the numbers like this.”

In our time at the homeless camp Friday, people were moving their tents and large numbers of personal items. That is one reason why KARM said people choose not to go there.

“We don’t have the storage space that allows us to let men and women bring their entire belongings,” Bowdle said.

The city is offering a better alternative for the future. They’re using a million dollars of American Rescue Plan Funding to find a permanent supported housing facility. This will allow people to have more permanent housing and gain valuable resources.

Officials at KARM said to solve the homelessness issue, it’ll take more than shelters and city help.

“Citizens who live downtown. Our local businesses owners are concerned about this problem. It is going to take everybody,” Bowdle said.

The $1 million in federal funding will just go toward buying property for the facility. It’ll be a long-term plan and funding process to get the entire building ready for this type of living.

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