Mayors announce homelessness initiative

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayors announce homelessness initiative

Posted: 10/06/2004
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale announced today the creation of a committee to create a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness.

The Mayors made the announcement at the Coalition for the Homeless' annual Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk breakfast.

National statistics estimate about 10 percent of the homeless are 'chronically homeless' - they have been homeless multiple times or for longer than a year - and they use a much higher percentage of the resources available to help homeless.

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has partnered with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties to create 10-Year Plans to End Chronic Homelessness.

"We are excited about working on this initiative with the city and Mayor Haslam," said Mayor Ragsdale. "Knox County through its grant organizations and its health department plays a major role in providing for the needs of the homeless."

"This committee will delve into the reasons for chronic homelessness and work hard on creating solutions," Mayor Haslam said. "By working together to create a long-range plan, the community can effectively pool its resources to focus on this problem."

"With today's announcement, the city of Knoxville and Knox County join in a national partnership that includes over 150 mayors and county executives all across our country, representing over 200 jurisdictions," said Philip Mangano, executive director of the U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness. "And they join with Cabinet secretaries in Washington D.C. and Governors in 49 states and territories in a planning process and strategy to end the homelessness of our most vulnerable neighbors."

Co-chairs of the committee are Dr. Roger Nooe, a University of Tennessee professor in the College of Social Work who is recognized as the region's authority on homelessness, and Kevin DuBose, of the city of Knoxville's Department of Community and Neighborhood Services.

"We are enormously gratified by the Mayors' dedication to this project," said Ginny Weatherstone, president of the Knoxville Coalition for the Homeless, an organization comprised of 27 local agencies. "With their leadership and the efforts of the entire community, we can eliminate homelessness for the neediest of our citizens."