Tue
Mar 23 2021
08:10 pm
By: michael kaplan
Wed
Mar 17 2021
10:16 pm

Thursday, March 18, at 4 pm

(link...)

Mon
Mar 15 2021
02:23 pm
By: michael kaplan
Mon
Mar 8 2021
01:08 am

CBS 60 Minutes did a long segment today (March 7) on the "new homeless" in Columbus, Ohio. It documents low-wage workers who've lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and are living in tents because they can't afford housing. It's notable to see how Columbus - and Ohio in general - is dealing with the problem. They're leaving people in their tents and have mobilized the National Guard to provide emergency services.

The CBS reporter states that homelessness is up some 50% this year, and increasing.

(link...)

Mon
Feb 22 2021
11:01 am
By: michael kaplan

Pratt & Whitney will build a 1 million square-foot advanced manufacturing center on a 100-acre Asheville site the Biltmore Farms Co. offered to Pratt & Whitney for $1, part of $15 million in state economic incentives plan that lured the company to North Carolina instead of several competing states.

(link...)

Topics:
Sun
Feb 7 2021
07:44 pm
By: michael kaplan

Updated 02 February

preview_walgreens_vaccine.jpeg

Wed
Jan 27 2021
07:12 pm
By: michael kaplan

(link...)

Stop the raids! Join our mission to end destructive raids of unhoused encampments during hazardous weather conditions. When the city of Knoxville conducts bulldozer sweeps to clear encampments of unhoused people during or right before extreme weather conditions, our neighbors risk injury and death as a direct result of having their shelter and personal belongings destroyed.

Fri
Dec 18 2020
03:24 pm
By: michael kaplan

Hello Mr. Kaplan,

I am sorry your follow-up questions were not answered. I am happy to provide the following information:

1. Smaller encampments refers to areas where a few unsheltered people camp. This is often in an area that is wooded or not easily visible.

2. The City has no designated camping areas.

3. The City tries to be responsive to remove camps when there are complaints from private property owners or when people are camping in public areas.

As Mike Dunthorn indicated, VMC and CAC have added street outreach workers (there are now a total of 9 workers) who engage unsheltered individuals and families with the goal of getting people in shelter and adequately housed. Shelters continue to have beds available to accommodate people, even as they space those beds out and implement other COVID protocols in coordination with the health department. VMC, in coordination with the Health Department operates the Guest House, in order to accommodate homeless individuals who are either awaiting COVID test results or who have tested positive and must quarantine while they recover.

Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks,

Becky Wade
Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development
City of Knoxville

Thu
Dec 10 2020
12:53 pm
By: michael kaplan

Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services.”

While the Declaration is not in and of itself US domestic law, it does provide internationally accepted guidelines for the behavior of governments towards their citizenry.

The demolition of homeless encampments on public land by Mayors Rogero and Kincannon seems a violation of the Declaration. I can't think of the demolition of Blackstock during a pandemic as anything but "inhuman or degrading treatment." The city, including the Mayor and members of the Community Development office, have not provided any specific details on the destination of those displaced by the demolitions, nor have they commented on public policy regarding the continued demolition of new encampments.

As the moratorium on COVID-related evictions is scheduled to end, and persons continue to sleep on sidewalks, under the highways, and roam the neighborhoods pushing carts, citizens have a right and need to know what the city's homeless policy is.

Eleanor Roosevelt, who served as the first Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and played an instrumental role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, wrote:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Fri
Dec 4 2020
03:54 pm
By: michael kaplan

In response to questions I posed to Michael Dunthorn in the city's Office on Homelessness, I received the following response (below). I have highlighted two phrases in his response. The city claimed the shelters could accommodate all the displaced Blackstock residents. So I asked whether the displaced persons took advantage of those available beds. Apparently they did not, as "many chose to relocate to other, smaller encampments." So I asked whether the city intended to proceed with the demolition of those "smaller encampments." No response yet from Mr. Dunthorn. Second, he stated that "the incidence of COVID-19 in the homeless population here has remained extremely low." So I asked why then would the homeless not be permitted to remain in their encampments during the pandemic, per CDC guidelines. No reponse yet.

Mr. Kaplan,

In collaboration with our nonprofit community partners, the City of Knoxville is continuing to work on the difficult issue of unsheltered homelessness. Before and during the time that the clearing at Blackstock occurred, people in those encampments were contacted and provided options to connect with shelter and other resources to help them. Everyone was given the opportunity to collect their belongings, and many were provided wheeled totes to help with this. Following the clearing at Blackstock, some individuals were able to reunite with their families, some did opt to go into shelter, and many chose to relocate to other, smaller encampments.

Outreach and case management work continues, and with help of funding from the City, Volunteer Ministry Center is in the process of hiring four additional street outreach workers. CAC has hired one additional street outreach worker with support from Knox County, and is also expanding outreach and case management to assist families experiencing homelessness. Shelters continue to have beds available to accommodate people, even as they space those beds out and implement other COVID protocols in coordination with the health department. VMC, in coordination with the Health Department operates the Guest House, in order to accommodate homeless individuals who are either awaiting COVID test results or who have tested positive and must quarantine while they recover. Fortunately so far, the incidence of COVID-19 in the homeless population here has remained extremely low.

With additional Cares Act funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, we are working to provide additional resources to our community partners to support outreach, housing placements, homelessness prevention, and shelter enhancements, and are looking for options to provide specialized shelter and resources for youth and families who experience homelessness.

Knoxville, like every other city in this country, is facing extremely difficult challenges in addressing homelessness during a pandemic. I work every day with our community partners who are tirelessly doing incredible work to meet the needs of as many individuals and families as they can. While a vaccine is now on the horizon, their determination and those efforts will continue through the winter.

Michael Dunthorn
City of Knoxville Office on Homelessness

Thu
Nov 19 2020
10:50 pm
By: michael kaplan

Now that this not-yet-completed, public-subsized, 'affordable' housing project has been rebranded and renamed, I suppose they can raise the rent.

preview_younghighflats.jpg

Fri
Nov 13 2020
03:02 pm
By: michael kaplan

I just watched the video of the October 6 Knoxville City Council meeting where the Mayor announced the impending demolition (what she calls 'cleaning') of the Blackstock homeless encampment. Only Council Rep Amelia Parker questioned the action. After a meeting lasting over 3 hours, five members of the public were allowed to speak for 5 minutes each. Four spoke against the demolition, one in favor. During these comments, members of Council sat stone-faced, and none saw fit to respond to the harsh condemnation of the City's action, which was in violation of CDC guidelines. A link to the meeting follows. Public comments can be heard at 3:17.

(link...)

Wed
Oct 7 2020
10:44 am
By: michael kaplan

Apparently, the Blackstock homeless encampment is set for demolition tomorrow. WUOT reported this morning that public discussion of this issue at last night's City Council meeting was cut off, by a 5-4 vote. CDC recommendations regarding the disposition of homeless camps during the pandemic are, apparently, being set aside. I'm not sure those living in this encampment have any place to go, so there may be a diaspora across the city and county similar to what we saw in October, 2018. Some of us have been documenting the camp for the last nine months. Attached is one view of what a small part of it looked like a month ago (faces pixelated).

preview_blackstock5a_0.jpg

Sun
Oct 4 2020
10:24 am
By: michael kaplan

from Variety:

Cineworld is shuttering all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the U.S. and all cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland this coming week, just a day after James Bond film “No Time to Die” was pushed to April 2021.

Variety understands from sources that the chain will close all sites in both countries as early as this week, with staff notified ahead of Monday. Regal is the second largest domestic chain in the U.S., while Cineworld is the U.K.’s biggest cinema operator.

Tue
Sep 29 2020
11:52 am
By: michael kaplan

I sent the following message to Senator Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Tim Burchett regarding mail service at the South Knoxville branch post office. I received a confirmation from Blackburn, and nothing from Burchett.

The post office at 137 E Young High Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920, used to have two outdoor mailboxes and now has only one. Today, Sunday, September 27, at 4 pm, I went to mail two letters, but couldn't insert them into the one remaining mailbox because it was full, with letters falling out the opening. It's time to restore full mail service in Knoxville, including full counter hours on Saturdays. The post office serves, and is appreciated by, our community, and for it to be undermined by the current administration is insulting and outrageous.

Wed
Sep 23 2020
07:39 pm
By: michael kaplan

From Michael Dunthorn:

Mr. Kaplan,

With regard to the specific situation ... that you mentioned, KPD has been investigating it and will increase monitoring of those locations.

Continued...

Sun
Sep 20 2020
09:55 pm
Topics:
Wed
Aug 19 2020
03:57 pm
By: michael kaplan

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – There are nearly 100 active cases and more than 350 University of Tennessee students and employees in self-isolation, according to the latest data released by school health officials.

(link...)

Sat
Jun 27 2020
10:49 am
By: michael kaplan

NEW YORK (AP) — Milton Glaser, the groundbreaking graphic designer who adorned Bob Dylan’s silhouette with psychedelic hair and summed up the feelings for his native New York with “I (HEART) NY,” died Friday, his 91st birthday.

iloveny_0.jpg

Topics:
Sun
May 24 2020
03:35 pm
By: michael kaplan

A 'slice' indeed: slice the ridge, remove the trees, pave over the site for parking. Just what South Knoxville needs.

(link...)

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