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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Siting Task Force for Ten Year Plan Postponed
March 10, 2009 - Mayors Haslam and Ragsdale and Ten Year Plan Director Jon Lawler very much appreciate the willingness of the Ten Year Plan Siting Task Force to provide assistance with siting considerations in regard to permanent supportive housing.

Subsequent to the task force being created the City and County law departments were put in a position to research existing law. It is clear that the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), which protects against housing discrimination, includes disability as a protected class. The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a chronically homeless individual as “a disabled individual who has been homeless for more than a year or who has experienced four episodes of homelessness over a three year period.” The Ten-Year Plan seeks to end homelessness for individuals, including those who are disabled and are thus protected under federal laws, including the FHA. The FHA prohibits local governments from imposing special regulations on housing for persons with disabilities that would not be imposed on other housing, and therefore, siting considerations in regard to permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless might potentially lead to a violation of federal laws.

Given the above considerations, after discussion with the City and County law directors, the City Council attorney, and the leaders of the Ten Year Plan, the Mayors are postponing the task force pending exploration of potential ways in which it could perform a valuable service in assuring that facilities and neighborhoods work together to ensure that the outcome is positive for all concerned.

The Knoxville and Knox County Mayors remain fully supportive of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, and particularly of the plan’s intent to develop new units of permanent supportive housing in locations within our community.
For Immediate Release
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