KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Officials with the City of Knoxville said that they were notified of $2.2 million from federal grants meant to help communities serve people who are experiencing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or who are at risk of it.
They decided to ask community groups for help prioritizing funds for services that will have the biggest impact. Officials released a draft of the priorities that qualify for funding under the Emergency Solutions Grant, from the federal CARES Act:
- Rental and utility assistance
- Street outreach
- Services to overcome language/cultural barriers
- Emergency shelter improvements (physical separation and space capacity) in preparation for colder weather
- Increased emergency shelter space capacity for families
- Emergency shelter and essential services for unaccompanied youth
- Mobile medication-assisted treatment (MAT) medical and mental health services
- Equity study on the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database required for any recipients of ESG-CV Round 2 funding
The priorities were created with input from Mayor Indya Kincannon and Michael Dunthorn, the Homeless Program Coordinator for the City's Office on Homelessness. Large service providers also participated in meetings and submitted surveys which helped identify community needs.
Now, city officials are asking for input from other people. They said they wanted to reach out to people who may not have been at the meetings where they identified their priorities for helping people experiencing homelessness.
They are asking for comments and questions about the priorities, and on services to help people experiencing homelessness. Anyone who wants to reach out about them can send an email to "BWade@knoxvilletn.gov" or "THarris@knoxvilletn.gov" before Monday, Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m.
Written comments can be sent to the attention of Becky Wade, Housing and Neighborhood Development, 5th Floor, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN, 37902. There is also a public meeting scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m. via Zoom.
People can ask for an invitation to the meeting by emailing city officials.