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The Mayors' Office of the Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness
Community Development
10 Yr. Plan to End Chronic Homelessness [PDF]
Homeless Man
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 housing opportunities.

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.
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