Chattanooga City Council has unanimously approved the use of $60,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to help rehouse up to 100 residents experiencing homelessness.
The funds will go to the Chattanooga Housing Authority as part of an agreement to provide housing to residents with no income at the cost of $600 per person, per year.
Once the residents are housed, the city’s Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will provide them with wraparound services and support to help them stabilize and find employment.
In addition to covering the $50 per month rental cost of the units, the $60,000 in funding may also be used to cover move-in costs and back rent to the CHA, which are often barriers for residents experiencing homelessness who are seeking housing.
The city plans to offer the majority of the housing units to residents who vacated the 11th street homeless encampment in early June. All residents of the 11th street encampment were offered a referral to a new temporary sanctioned encampment on 12th street and a referral to work toward permanent housing through the Chattanooga Housing Authority. Those who declined were offered a new tent and relocation assistance.
Studies show a direct correlation between rising housing prices and rising homelessness, particularly when wages do not keep pace.
Mayor Tim Kelly has directed the city to undertake a number of initiatives to increase the supply and affordability of housing in the city, which has seen rising demand for housing at a time when few units are available.
This year’s budget includes $33 million toward a $100 million affordable housing initiative that will create and preserve thousands of homes over the next several years.
The city is also undergoing a top-to-bottom zoning code assessment to remove barriers to the creation of housing Chattanooga residents can afford and has rolled out incentives for housing providers to rent to low-income families.
In July, Chattanooga City Council approved Kelly’s One Chattanooga Recovery and Relief Plan, which includes $7.4 million for initiatives that create and preserve affordable housing and $5.3 million for homelessness prevention and recovery.
These initiatives include, among other efforts, the creation of a new low barrier shelter to help transition residents experiencing homelessness into permanent housing and 230 new affordable housing units in partnership with four community-based organizations.
Source: City of Chattanooga