City Continues Work on 12th St. Homeless Encampment

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – On Friday, Mayor Tim Kelly stated his opposition to building sheds for Chattanooga’s growing homeless population.

According to the City, such structures would be unsafe.

“The solutions that we give these people need to be safe. They need to be something that… we’re not setting them up for more problems down the road,” said Sam Wolfe, Director of Homelessness and Supportive Housing for the City of Chattanooga.

However, The city is attempting to assist the homeless community by sanctioning an encampment.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll be selecting a non-profit partner who is going to manage the site, provide the oversight, provide the security for the people, and also provide the linkage to services to get people of the street and into housing to resolve their homelessness,” Wolfe continued.

The sanctioned encampment would be on a city owned lot on twelfth street. This lot has enough space to house 120 people.

“We need emergency shelter, but also if there’s a way that we can provide a safe, clean space for folks, where they can have restroom facilities and other things that they probably currently don’t have, then that’s a good thing. It’s a good first step,” said David Costellow, Interim CEO of Community Kitchen.

If you’re wondering what will make a sanctioned encampment safer than existing encampments, the answer is staffing.

“It’s having the case managers that are coming out and doing regular visits for the people. It’s having a set intake process, so people who are at the site — we know who they are. And it’s also having emergency policies and procedures,” said Wolfe.

If you’d like to assist the homeless safely, the city recommends donating to the Community Kitchen or the Regional Homeless Coalition.

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