March 20, 2014
Continued Progress to End Homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County
Overall Homelessness Down by 21%
Fewer people live on the streets of Memphis and Shelby County. It’s the second consecutive year homelessness has been reduced throughout Shelby County, as measured by the annual Point In Time count, a one-day survey that is conducted each January by the Community Alliance for the Homeless.
City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr., and Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., along with members of the Community Alliance for the Homeless, announced details of the encouraging trend at a news conference today.
“On January 22nd more than 100 volunteers canvassed shelters, soup kitchens, and various places where people experiencing homelessness are found and discovered that homelessness was down in both the sheltered and unsheltered population, for the second year in a row,” said Katie Kitchin, Executive Director of the Community Alliance for the Homeless.
Homelessness in Shelby County is down 21% overall since 2012. Even greater reductions were found in family homelessness, which fell 30%, and chronic homelessness, (those who have been living on the streets or in shelters for more than a year,) which fell by 39%. The drop in the homeless population is attributed to the network of partnerships linked to the Mayors’ Action Plan to End Homelessness.
“While we’re not declaring victory yet, we know our non-profit partners have been working very hard to help people leave homelessness permanently, and they are due our thanks and congratulations,” said City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr.
“Without partnerships, we could not have seen a decrease in our homeless population. We’ve also seen reductions in the homeless rate among veterans, thanks largely to our work with various a
gencies such as Alpha Omega, Catholic Charities, Comprehensive Counseling Network and Case Management, Inc.,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr.
One of the success stories involves the Memphis Interfaith Association (MIFA) and its donation of property to the Promise Community Development Corporation. That led to the creation of 73 units of permanent supportive housing that are providing permanent homes to families who are homeless and facing separation due to child welfare involvement.
“Permanent Housing is the foundation from which great things start to happen for families and individuals. We’re fortunate to witness incredible transformations every day and walk alongside people taking difficult steps forward in their recovery,” said Cornelius Sanders, Executive Director of Promise Development Corporation.
Another aspect of the community’s efforts recognized at the news conference was the contributions of the staff and volunteers of the Emergency Housing Hotline for homeless families. Since 2009, volunteers, including students at Rhodes College, and staff of the Tennessee Community Services Agency have answered about 1500 calls a month from people experiencing a housing crisis. The hotline,(901) 260-4663, directs homeless families to resources to ensure children won’t sleep unsheltered.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness features the accomplishments of the Mayors’ Action Plan to End Homelessness at their website: www.endhomelessness.org
The Community Snapshot taken from the website is included with this news release in a separate file.