Chattanooga Housing Authority to expand number of housing units for homeless

Chattanooga Housing Authority to expand number of housing units for homeless

July 1st, 2013 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Mary Ellen Galloway

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Housing Authority Board Chairman Eddie Holmes

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

A year after launching a rapid rehousing program, local housing officials say it's working and they are offering 10 more apartments to house the homeless.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority board agreed this month to add units at College Hill Courts for the homeless, for a total of 30.

Housing officials said the first 20 families remained housed and benefited from the program.

"The goal is to, as quick as we can, transition people into housing," said Mary Ellen Galloway, executive director of Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga.

Family Promise is partnering with Room in the Inn, Joe Johnson Mental Health Center and CHA to house homeless families and provide them with services, Galloway said.

"We want to wrap services around them so they get the support that they need," she said.

Participants must meet CHA requirements and pay rent based on income or a flat rate. They also must agree to take part in individualized education programs on financial management and maintaining their new homes.

Family Promise provides case managers to help them and, at the end of the program period -- six months to a year -- the families graduate and are allowed to remain in the apartment.

According to Chattanooga Homeless Coalition's website, 61 families, including 124 individuals, were homeless during the coalition's 2012 Point-In-Time count.

CHA officials said they gave public notice of the proposed expansion in April and allowed until June for public comments, but received no written comments.

Eddie Holmes, CHA's board chairman, said the housing authority also had requests from Patten Towers residents for housing.

More than 240 Patten Towers residents were displaced from their homes for three weeks after a fire in May. Residents moved back into the site Friday.

"The need for housing is tremendous," said Galloway. "We can fill them [available public housing units] before anybody picks up the phone."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 434-757-6431.