A Department of Housing and Urban Development grant will offer help to the chronically homeless in LaFollette.
“We just have some serious needs in this community,” said Phyllis Clinger, from Community Health of East Tennessee.
“People get stuck in situations they didn’t plan on getting into,” said Pastor Anthony Gibson, from Word of Life Church. “I don’t know any homeless person who planned on being homeless. Things just happen.”
CHET is working with the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness to use a $184,281 HUD grant to provide nine apartments for chronically homeless families and individuals in LaFollette.
The money from the HUD grant must be used in Campbell County.
“It was awarded to us because of our county needs so the money had to stay here,” Clinger said. “We couldn’t give it to another county.”
The money is specifically being used to help the homeless in the city of LaFollette. LaFollette was selected based on data reviewed when CHET applied for the grant.
“The city of LaFollette received more than 30 percent of the (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Funding),” Clinger said. “LaFollette had requested the greatest amount of funding in the past.”
When Clinger asked the LaFollette City Council to pay part of the matching portion of the grant, Gibson agreed to pay half of the amount on a monthly basis.
“We already feed the hungry here and give out food to the hungry, and clothes,” Gibson said. “It’s part of our ministry. We try to help people change their lifestyle so they can make it.”
HUD personnel has been telling Clinger the money will arrive for the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness any day.
The money will arrive in February, said Melanie Cordell, executive director for the TVCtEH.
Although the grant was awarded to CHET, CHET had to transfer the award of the grant to the TVCtEH because of liability insurance issues.
HUD came out with interim rule. Because the grant was for the chronically homeless, the apartments would have to be leased in CHET’s name.
“We would have to sublet the apartment to the client,” Clinger said. “Our liability insurance said no, it was too risky.”
So CHET transferred the grant to the TVCtEH.
CHET partnered with the TVCtEH.
“We create a lease between the landlord and coalition,” Cordell said.
The grant will be used to help chronically homeless people. Chronically homeless people have been homeless for at least a year or at least four times in the last three years. Often children are involved.
“A chronically homes person could be a victim of domestic violence, someone who has completed a treatment program for drugs or alcohol, or disabled veterans,” Clinger said.
The grant will provide five apartments for chronically homeless families and four apartments for chronically homeless individuals. These apartments are at scattered sites throughout LaFollette, Clinger said.
“The minimum length of stay is a year,” Cordell said.
The families and individuals haven’t yet been selected, Cordell said. Clinger is working with social service organizations to raise awareness about the program. Those with disabilities who meet HUD’s requirements will be eligible.
“They will be receiving supportive services for those two years so they can become self-sufficient,” Clinger said.
CHET will provide these services.
Supportive services include life skills, such as how to use household appliances and maintain a schedule, financial management, behavioral health, counseling and referrals to community partners, which depend on individuals’ needs.
Families and individuals will be taught skills necessary for moving towards stability, Cordell said.
Clinger will be the case manager for the households to help move families and individuals to stability, Cordell said.
“Throughout the year, she will be linking them to mainstream services, healthcare,” Cordell said.
“We’re just excited about providing housing in Campbell County,” Cordell said. “There are no emergency shelters in Campbell County. The homeless population is growing.”