Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 10, 2022

City completes relocation of residents at 11th Street homeless encampment

The city of Chattanooga last week concluded a two-month process to relocate residents experiencing homelessness from an 11th street encampment located next to aAn active rail line.

Following a site census in March, all residents were offered the choice of a referral to a new temporary sanctioned encampment or a referral to work toward permanent housing through Chattanooga Housing Authority. Those who declined housing were offered a new tent and relocation assistance.

The city’s Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has placed more than 35 homeless residents into permanent homes over the past two months.

The new encampment had 15 residents as of June 1. The city anticipates admitting 60 residents by the end of summer.

The nonprofit Help Right Here is operating the encampment.

Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing director Sam Wolfe says the department will continue to work to help vulnerable residents find an off-ramp from homelessness that works for them and their families.

“The solution to homelessness is a home. Since its inception, our team has placed hundreds of residents into homes, and along with our partners at the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, we will continue to both tend to their immediate needs and help them navigate the path to housing.”

The city notified the 140 residents who were camping next to the rail line of the May 31 move-out date two months ago.

Workers with the Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing visited the encampment multiple times each week to ensure every resident had the opportunity to relocate safely.

Studies show a direct correlation between rising housing prices and rising homelessness, particularly when wages do not keep pace, the city notes in a news release.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has directed the city to undertake several 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 intended to 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 that Chattanooga residents can afford and has rolled out incentives for housing providers to rent to low-income families.

The city has also funded an eviction prevention initiative that has helped hundreds of Chattanoogans, including more than 200 children, stay in their homes.

Beyond the creation of housing and the prevention of evictions, the city is working to expand workforce opportunities for residents through a number of job training initiatives.

The city’s EMPACT program provides Google IT certification to residents that will unlock their ability to gain a middle-class job. And the city’s funding for the Construction Academy in the former Mary Ann Garber school will allow hundreds of residents to receive skilled trades training.

Source: city of Chattanooga