Monthly Archives: July 2010

Times Free Press covers city’s homeless problem

The Times Free Press gave major coverage to homelessness in Chattanooga in a Page 1 story that focused on a monk-run and federally funded House of All Souls in East Chattanooga. “This is paradise,” an autistic resident, Philip Fuller, 27, told the newspaper. “No rats, no roaches, no bugs.” The group houses only men who are labeled chronically homeless and who are mentally or physically disabled. It is funded by a $154,000 federal grant to Rosewood Supportive Services. Agencies of state government have received $2 million to aid the homeless.

“Chattanooga does not have enough housing for the homeless in general,” said Kimberly George, community relations director for the Chattanooga Salvation Army chapter. “It becomes increasingly difficult when trying to house families and those who are mentally and physically disabled.”

“In the Chattanooga area, about 4,000 people a year experience homelessness, according to ‘Blueprint to End Chronic Homelessness in the Chattanooga Region in Ten Years,’ a study conducted by the city,” the newspaper report said.

Union Gospel Mission, though not contacted for the story, said the day the story appeared that it had 15 residents, almost all of whom could be considered chronically homeless.

“We are always glad to see more opportunities for the homeless in our community,” said the Rev. Jon Rector. “With such an overwhelming need and such few resources, having a new partner organization is encouraging!”

“Although, the Union Gospel Mission has had to recently “revamp” the services we provide and the way we provide them, we still are unwavering in the belief that even those who are chronically homeless can be helped,” he continued. “For so many of the homeless, homelessness is not the problem, but a byproduct of a life of poor decisions. For the majority of those who find themselves chronically homeless, the most important thing we can offer them, is the saving power of Jesus Christ that will give them the desire to change their lives.”

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