New Permanent Homes for Homeless

New Permanent Homes for Homeless

Private and public grants from the city and Shelby Co. will provide $8 million to help house and provide financial help to 900 homeless families
MEMPHIS, TN— Private and public grants from the city and Shelby County will provide $8-million to help house and provide financial help to 900 homeless families.  It’s part of the “Memphis Strong Families Initiative.” County and city mayors joined MIFA, and other organizations to make the big announcement. Part of the big unveiling is turning over 70 plus apartments in Midtown Memphis into permanent housing for the homeless.

“That’s a blessing; it made me feel real happy,” said a homeless Memphis mother October Johnson.

Johnson is a mother of six. Their eyes lit up when I showed them pictures of their new home, the Idlewild Court Apartments in Midtown. The family has bounced around from place to place for years.

“It makes me feel bad to move out of our school,” said Johnson’s 11-year old son, Wesley.

Wesley hates not having a nice place to call home. All he can remember are the bad places he lived.

“Being in an ugly house and got holes in the wall, and bugs crawling,” said the 11 year old boy.

“We came to MIFA for some help and get assistance in finding a place to stay,” said Johnson.

That new place will most likely be at the Idlewild Court Apartments in Midtown. The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association or MIFA is turning over the transitional housing to another group, which will make them permanent homes for families in need, like the Johnsons.

“Every year we hope to see more decreases. Homelessness is down 13-percent, chronic homelessness is down 17-percent,” said the Community Alliance for Homeless Executive Director Katie Kichin.

But the problem hasn’t gone away. We found a homeless veteran staying cool in the shade in Downtown Memphis, right across the street from the Shelby County Government offices.

“I slept right there at the bus stop, I didn’t really sleep but I was there last night,” said the homeless vet Clarence Brister.

Brister says it’s tough being homeless. He says it’s dangerous at times to stay at the Union Mission Shelter on Poplar.

“Most of the people that go in there, they’ll rob somebody or jump on people,” said Brister.

Trying to solve homelessness is no easy task.

“We need to invest in education, mental disability, and other resources to really address homelessness,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

At least for now we know the Johnsons will have a nice, cool, clean place to call home.

“Thank you to all the people that are helping us,” said 11-year old Wesley.

The apartments are for homeless families, mostly women and their children. The apartments come fully furnished. A group called the North Memphis Community Development Corp will maintain these units.
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