There are hundreds of homeless people in Knoxville and this is interesting, a lot of them travel here to take advantage of the services that help. Some say we still don't offer enough. So what's being done to help these people get off the streets?
We've heard of the ten year plan to end chronic homelessness, but this is different. A new proposal being presented to city council will organize and streamline agencies for the homeless so they can find jobs and get into affordable housing.
At any given time a thousand homeless people live in Knoxville, but throughout the year 9,000 people come here to look for help. One homeless man named Chris Murphy says, "They have no where else to go. If we had better services, we wouldn't be here."
The city wants to offer more streamlined services to get those people off the streets. They held a round table meeting with different agencies and put together a plan. The Project Manager for Office on Homelessness Michael Dunthorn says, "My biggest hope is that we as a community can do the high level of coordination and be effective for people who need and want help."
We went down to Broadway where a number of homeless hang out during the day. Some people tell me there is a way to end a lot of the homelessness. They say if there were better services, it would go away. They believe housing should be offered to people with a criminal background. Right now felons can't get housing . They also believe the process of getting a home should be faster. Murphy says, "It takes a year or two to get housing. If they'd speed the process up, nobody would be out here."
Pamela Sharp is also homeless and tells me housing is her biggest problem too. Pamela Sharp says, "A proper list of HUD housing that's not KCDC because nobody in town has that information."
Dunthorn says, "We want to be open to everyone and work with people across the community to address this issue."
The office on homelessness hopes the city will adopt the plan at their next meeting.