Mayor Kelly fires back at homeless criticism

He says he's against "Flammable Sheds," not tiny homes

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly is firing back at accusations that he is against Tiny Homes for the homeless.

He says a “fringe group” wants him to back the building of what he calls flammable sheds that he says pose a danger to the homeless.

The Mayor is rejecting that call, but not the idea of small, single person dwellings.

“We don’t oppose tiny homes. We oppose the construction of flammable sheds thrown together by well-meaning residents, but which pose a danger to the very people they are trying to help,” Kelly said.

“That’s why for months we’ve been working hard on alternatives. We’re weeks away from opening a sanctioned encampment, which will offer a safe place for our homeless neighbors to sleep at night while we work to find them long-term housing, which is the ultimate solution to homelessness.”

Mayor Kelly also points out that organizations like the Community Kitchen and Salvation Army open cold weather shelters for the homeless (The Community Kitchen shelter is open tonight.)

He says the city has announced several initiatives to create more afforadalbe housing, including a risk mitigation fund for housing providers just last week.

And he adds they are talking to companies about “safe and fire-resistant tiny homes” designed to shelter the homeless.

“But what we can’t have are flammable wooden sheds that our firefighting professionals say are dangerous and could lead to horrific injuries and deaths,” Kelly said. “My administration is all about innovative solutions, but not at the risk of threatening the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. Individuals who continue to build these unsafe structures without a permit will face consequences.”

“I know our city is full of folks with big hearts ready to serve, and if you want to make a difference and help our homeless population, I’m asking folks to get in touch with proven, trusted organizations. Help organizations like the Community Kitchen, whose cold weather shelter is open this evening, and help organizations that help individuals find a permanent home, like the Regional Homeless Coalition.”

Here is his list of what you could or should NOT do to help the homeless here.


  • Donate food to Community Kitchen
    • Canned goods are best
  • Donate supplies to Regional Homeless Coalition
    • Anything you would take camping
  • Donate furniture to Chattanooga Furniture Bank
    • People exiting homelessness often have no bed in which to sleep or table at which to eat.
  • Volunteer through Regional Homeless Coalition.
    • Need encampment upkeep, transitional housing navigators, and supporters of zoning/code reform
  • Donate $$ to Regional Homeless Coalition
  • Build relationships with unhoused residents



  • Don’t leave dangerous items at encampments.
    • Unpermitted or unsafe structures
    • Weapons
    • Drugs or poisons
    • Combustible or explosive items
    • Expired food
  • Don’t interfere with outreach workers
  • Don’t dump items at encampments without first checking with residents


Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News