|The Mayors' Office of the Ten-Year Plan
to End Chronic Homelessness
The City of Knoxville and Knox County have committed to implementing
a Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.
These are the main strategies in our community's ten-year plan:
1. Move people into housing first.
Housing first means that permanent housing is the first and most important
issue to address in order to end chronic homelessness. That's because
if a chronically homeless person can quickly get into stable, appropriate,
permanent housing, then the issues of mental illness, chemical addictions,
education, and employment become much more manageable, and much less
costly to our community.
2. Stop discharging to the streets from foster care, jails, and
mental health hospitals.
Our ten-year plan recommends that we develop a good strategy for discharging
at-risk people from institutions to permanent housing. A sound, efficient
system of referral to permanent housing will stop at-risk people from
becoming homeless. It is humane, and it's also good fiscal policy.
3. Increase coordination and effectiveness of service.
The ten-year plan especially seeks to enhance coordination of social
service case management, outreach and engagement; to establish a single
point of entry to the service, shelter and housing system for homeless
people; and to specify designated functions for shelters, housing
and service agencies to cut down on duplication of efforts.
4. Increase economic opportunities.
We want to maximize income and economic stability for every client
so that we can realize each person's potential to offset the costs
of their supportive services and housing. Our ten-year plan recommends
that homeless people participate in a comprehensive assessment of
eligibility for available benefit programs, and of education and current
employability, in order to determine further training needs.
5. Implement new data collection methods.
Our ten-year plan calls for the Homeless Management Information System
(HMIS) to be used by housing and service providers, hospitals, correctional
facilities, and other agencies working to end homelessness in Knoxville
and Knox County. Full implementation of HMIS will provide a single
point of entry for homeless people, will better-coordinate services,
reduce redundancy, track results and lower costs.
6. Develop permanent solutions.
Instead of simply managing people's homelessness, we are working to
implement strategies that will prevent or at least end their homelessness
quickly. We must develop alternatives to incarceration or hospitalization
for people arrested for public intoxication, a high percentage of
whom are homeless. We seek to break their cycle through jail or the
emergency room, back to a shelter, and back again, by putting systems
in place that will help them connect with case management and permanent
7. Strengthen partnerships with faith-based organizations (FBOs).
It is important that we coordinate the efforts of FBOs throughout
the community and help them to utilize their resources more effectively.
Local congregations and FBOs will be a critical resource for the success
of this plan. We will implement a comprehensive educational campaign
specifically to help congregations wrap their arms around homeless
and formerly homeless people. Improved communication between FBOs
is also essential.
8. Recognize homelessness as a community challenge.
We need to address public awareness so that we can gain everyone's
active participation in ending chronic homelessness: every member
of our community has a role to play. Good communication is essential,
and members of the general public need good and timely information
on the plan's progress and on how their interactions with the homeless
can reinforce our community's efforts to end chronic homelessness.
9. Prevent homelessness.
Housing first, stopping discharges to the street, and coordinated
case management will have a strong preventive effect on chronic homelessness.
Our prevention strategy encompasses many actions that prevent individuals
and families from losing their housing.
The Mayors' Office of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
has a new website. Please visit knoxtenyearplan.org
for frequent updates.