Jan 18 2011
01:52 pm


Rick Morrow, executive director of United Way of Anderson County, quoted in the Jan 18, 2011 Oak Ridger:

"We don't have a homeless problem in Oak Ridge," he said. "We send it all to Knoxville." ("Addressing the City's Homeless Problem," by Beverly Majors)

Note that Morrow doesn't say them...he refers to "them" as "it."

How many times have we heard from representatives of the Ten Year Plan that other counties DO NOT send their homeless to Knoxville?

We knew that wasn't true, that surrounding areas do in fact transport their homeless to Knoxville. Hopefully, representatives of the TYP will stop denying reality.

Maybe the TYP should focus its work on stopping these counties from their unethical homeless dumping practices, or at least start billing them. This also undercuts Sheriff Jones' argument for the Safety Center. Clearly some of the homeless in Knoxville and Knox County have been sent here by neighboring counties.

And let's not forget when Sevier County got caught at it last year. Jones was even sending Knox County deputies to the county line to pick them up and transporting them to KARM.

There is an elephant in the middle of the room. In all the posturing over how many homeless there are in Knoxville, no one is looking at their origins.

Let me add that there's a big difference between a homeless person stopping in Knoxville at the Greyhound station, asking for a meal at KARM, and moving on, or camping here for awhile, and a neighboring community explicitly admitting that they send their "homeless problem" to Knoxville.

rocketsquirrel's picture

do your own homework.

do your own homework.

MemphisSlim's picture

If you look at the surrounding counties, no homeless problem

They ALL forward their lost, bewildered, and their beleagured to Knoxville for us to deal with given our existing resources for these circumstances.

It's the same thing in Hamilton County, Davidson County, and Shelby county, the larger counties do have resources to clothe, feed, and shelter the homeless and the mere fact that the the homeless person got derailed in Anderson County and shipped off too Knox County, shouldn't stop Knox County from addressing this problem on behalf of the 9 county region, should it?

Linda Rust's picture

Regional Homeless Coalition

Please be aware that the Tennessee Valley Coalition to End Homelessness (TVCEH) is a regional homeless coalition for the twelve counties surrounding Knox (Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Loudon, Monroe, Sevier, Union). While this group has been meeting since January of 2007, there were efforts to organize the more rural counties for years.

Some successes of the TVCEH though have been to get federal funding to implement data collection and service coordination through HMIS (Homelessness Management Information System) and, more recently, Homeless Prevention and Rapid rehousing Program (HPRP). See more on the HPRP program here:


It's true that an early challenge was to convince some of the rural county leaders that they did have people in their counties experiencing homelessness. To be fair, rural homelessness does look different than urban homelessness. However, within a very short time, most county and city mayors jumped on board and have been very supportive. They have provided matching funds and resources required for the implementation of the regional HMIS program. They have also been supportive of organizations within their boundaries who have applied for HUD supportive housing funding through the Continuum of Care process. Unfortunately, one of the problems with being rural and having such a wide reach, is that coordination has been difficult. The rural Continuum of Care has not received enough points in the scoring system to fund anything other than HMIS, so far. Obviously, the HPRP award was a big shot in the arm for the TVCEH and there have been success with that program.

Linda Rust's picture

Regional Homeless Count

I forgot to mention that the rural areas participate in the Point-in-Time count and have, since January 2007. This year, it is scheduled for Thursday, January 27 from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. It is a simple count (not a survey) of both the sheltered and non-sheltered homeless in each county.

The count is a requirement for the Continuum of Care (TVCEH)from HUD and the VA for receiving funds. It is also a first step in understanding the nature of rural homelessness. As I eluded to before, rural homelessness is different in some ways than urban homelessness.

barker's picture

According to Roger Nooe's

According to Roger Nooe's 2010 homeless study, HMIS shows that 59 percent of the homeless gave a '379' zip code for their last permanent address, meaning they lived in Knox County just before becoming homeless. Seventy-nine percent gave a zip code that began '37,' meaning their last address was in Knox or an adjacent county.


whooshe65's picture

You reference this paragraph

You reference this paragraph in your comment-

Fifty-nine percent of HMIS clients who responded had a zip code with a '379' prefix, corresponding to Knox County, and seventy-nine percent of all service users had a prior permanent address in the '37' prefix, that includes Knox and surrounding contiguous counties. These data suggest that homeless service providers in Knox County are primarily serving people who became homeless while living in the local area. The reader is reminded that the 2010 study sample includes persons who are transient and/or living in outside locations and often not service users.

How many HMIS clients that completed the questionaire, actually responded to the zip code question, ie "HMIS clients who responded" ? This is a very important question considering that in 2009, an average of 26% of the questionairs were incomplete.

According to the 2009 HMIS report, of the 3711 new entries into the system, only 60% of them answered the Zip Code question. So only 2263 people even responded to that question. Where are the other 1448 people from?

Also from the 2009 HMIS report-

With a total client count of over 18,000 in HMIS, only 34% have a full or partial zip code.

So of the 18,000 names entered in the HMIS system, 11,880 of them did not answer the Zip code Question. Where are they from?

How can this 2009 statistic be used as any kind of accurate measurement of anything?

whooshe65's picture

Also of interest is Dr.

Also of interest is Dr. Nooe's comment-

The reader is reminded that the 2010 study sample includes persons who are transient and/or living in outside locations and often not service users.

Does this mean that in the same paragraph, Dr. Nooe is combining information collected from two seperate groups of people?

Why is he doing this?

Somebody's picture

On the other hand, the Gallup

On the other hand, the Gallup organization does national tracking polls where 1,500 respondents are a sufficient sample size to extrapolate information about the entire country. It's probably not unreasonable then to believe that a sampling of 60% of the population in HMIS could be predictive of that whole population, too.

whooshe65's picture

You might want to re-read the

You might want to re-read the above posts. You said-
"It's probably not unreasonable then to believe that a sampling of 60% of the population in HMIS could be predictive of that whole population, too."

There has not been a sampling of 60% of the people in HMIS. That would be a sample size of 10,800 people. As reported in the HMIS, only 34% of the 18,000 people in HMIS have EVER answered the Zip Code question.

On the other hand, people that answer Gallup Poll questions when called on the phone, have no expectation that their answers may or may not allow them to receive some kind of free services.

whooshe65's picture

"I suggest you grab an

"I suggest you grab an introductory text on statistics and get back to us."

Thats funny.

Again, please read the posts above.

No Sampling of 60% of the population in HMIS has ever occured in regards to where their last permanent address was before they encountered homelessness.

No one needs to read a text on Stats to understand that.

rikki's picture

whooshe said: "According to

whooshe said:

"According to the 2009 HMIS report, of the 3711 new entries into the system, only 60% of them answered the Zip Code question. So only 2263 people even responded to that question."

Somebody used that very same 60% figure, and whooshe disputed it. Somebody also compared this to Gallup's practice of using data from 1,500 families to measure national trends, a percentage so much smaller than 1% that you're likely to lose track of a zero writing it out. So it's fine for Gallup to use 1,500 responses to measure what millions of homes watch on TV, but 2,263 responses is not enough to indicate where Knox Co's homeless come from?

I wonder why whooshe opts to be anonymous.

whooshe65's picture

rikki,The Gallop poll for


The Gallop poll for TV, does not dictate how Taxpayer dollars are going to be spent to provide services to our Homeless population.

Lets bring this discussion back around to rockets point.

Knoxville and Knoxville's Homeless Industry have become a magnet for other East Tennesse Counties to send their Homeless people to for services. Please don't continue to deny this fact. Just within the last 8 months, we learned of the Knox Sheriff's department county line Pick-up policy and this now confirmed Anderson County statement, "We don't have a homeless problem in Oak Ridge," he said. "We send it all to Knoxville."

And BTW, Somebody said-
"It's probably not unreasonable then to believe that a sampling of 60% of the population in HMIS could be predictive of that whole population, too."

Somebody appears to be saying 60% of the total population in the HMIS system, which would be 60% of 18,000, compared to my statement about the persons entered into the HMIS system just in 2009. Nice try though.

rikki's picture

Somebody is talking about the

Somebody is talking about the concept of statistical sampling, whereas you are just talking nonsense. No one has ever denied that Knoxville's homeless gather from the surrounding region, and rocketsquirrel's point that neighboring counties should chip in toward the costs of housing and services is good point.

TYPOs often contend that PSH will attract homeless people from all over the country, and they are now disingenuously shifting from a national to regional frame, trying to save face after being shown to be wrong. The facts are just facts, not some evidence against the TYP. You're trying to spin it that way because you try to spin everything that way.

slapshot's picture

There are lies, damned lies,

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. When people who want money start quoting statistics you can be assured their statistics will prove their point.

Why does MinVilla house only 14 people? How long has it been open? This TYP is a farce.

marytheprez's picture

Why is the TYP even a topic of interest any more?

The County Mayor killed the hopes of anyone in this County who thought he or she might someday have a chance at a safe, secure place to live. The County and the City only contributed a small portion of the total funding for the plan. But Burchett stopped the entire process, all the Federal matching funding, all the grant and foundations support...Knoxville and Knox County are now known as areas where the 'tax payers' refuse to help anyone to permanent housing...even IF that person can pay at least part of their rent.

There is NO POINT in continuing to blame the homeless or those who try to help them get a place to live. It is clear that anyone who asks for respect and just a little dignity need not look here. And the "Compassion Knoxville was a 6-month waste of time and money" because the situation for the chronic homeless here is still the SAME. or...Peabody won.
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