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.

A new low-barrier shelter called “The Foyer” was opened by Volunteer Ministry Center last December in the old Salvation Army thrift store building on Broadway. This shelter specifically serves people who have been resistant to or otherwise haven’t been accessing existing shelter facilities. People staying there are provided social services designed to help them get from there to appropriate permanent housing as quickly as possible.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control issued guidance recommending that cities ease back on clearing out homeless camps based on the idea that, on balance, the possibility for social distancing in camps may be preferable to too many people being in close quarters inside shelters. Cities across the country responded to that recommendation as we did.

At this point, shelters have had time to modify their facilities and operations to better accommodate people in a safe manner during the pandemic. There are also significant additional federal grant funds currently being made available to further improve shelter space and capacity, to provide rapid rehousing support, as well as to increase social services outreach work. With those changes and with colder weather coming, the health and safety of those experiencing homelessness as well as the community as a whole will be better served by encouraging people to leave the encampments and go into safer and more healthy environments of our local shelters. It will take some time to implement, but the Police and Public Service Departments at the City and our social service partners will be working together over the coming weeks to make this change, which we hope will result in a reduction in homeless encampments. This is an exceptionally challenging issue, but we are working to improve the situation.

Michael Dunthorn

City of Knoxville Office on Homelessness

fischbobber's picture

A thought or two.

Depending on the needs of the general population, sometimes dry area with blower heaters are best suited for both those managing and those being managed.


Seems if we started by treating every man's view of life with dignity first, maybe that helping hand would be easier for both of us.

Let's help them get to a place by winter.

fischbobber's picture

Just an idea

If you could find someone to manage a bathing area, I saw this in a tourist area in Provincetown, you can keep bathrooms clean and operating at a benefit for all involved. Some entity should have someone overseeing operations 24/7.

That's the biggest expense and the most cost effective money spent.

Keep bathrooms separate.

michael kaplan's picture

All practical ideas. You

All practical ideas. You might put these suggestions directly to Michael Dunthorn.

Michael Dunthorn
City of Knoxville Homeless Program Coordinator
(865) 215-3103

I should add that the paragraph above in bold (on 'clearing out' homeless camps) was what many proposed two years ago, but for other reasons.

BoB W.'s picture

fischbobber - a good man!

Your comment about treating others with dignity leads me to believe that you are the kind of caring, respectful person that is sorely needed as a leader and as an example we could all learn from. I'm seldom wrong about those kinds of first impressions.

Ever think about running for some kind of public office?

fischbobber for prez - has a nice ring don't you think...

Treehouse's picture


About time KnoxViews put up a candidate

michael kaplan's picture

Absolutely. I'd second the

Absolutely. I'd second the nomination for fischbobber. County commission? City council?

fischbobber's picture

Kind thoughts.

Thanks for the kind thoughts. I have a family dependent on my ability to provide health insurance though. I wouldn't be much of a husband and Dad if I left my job just now. I may have to work until I die, just to afford to be sick.

Treehouse's picture

That's why we vote

Everybody deserves healthcare regardless of job situation. I believe Joe Biden would bring that around quite a bit faster than the current pResident.

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