More people are homeless in Sevier County

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A recent homeless count found that more people are homeless in Sevier County than last year.

The homeless count, 2014, found 115 people who were homeless and more than 600 who lived in substandard housing.

Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries Executive Director, Dick Wellons, says many of the people move to the Smokies looking for work, but find out it's hard to find work.

"More and more folks that have a home that's been foreclosed on, maybe have moved to our area hoping for one of the jobs," said Wellons, SMARM. "All great glitz and glamor and there's plenty of jobs which there are during the season, but during this off season there's not."

A Sevier County Pastor, Jarrett Sharp, says he hopes to help give people a better path. He wants to help people get on their feet and give them guidance to help keep them from returning to the streets.

"Let's try to do more than just throw food at them or put a roof over their head for a few days and say we did the best we could. Let's get some life change some skills," said Sharp. "There's not enough resources to take care of every body if they're not willing to try to take care of themselves and to better themselves."

In addition 78 sheltered homeless were being housed in rooms paid for by other groups, such as churches.

The results of the homeless survey are sent to HUD, and the numbers help determine federal funding that goes to agencies that serve the poor.

You can contact Sharp at 865-742-6832 or

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