Mar 13 2019
11:01 am
  • Homeless

According to a report from the KNS, many people showed up at the Vestal Community Organization Monday night to discuss the growth of the homeless population in South Knoxville. Some of the people blamed the increase on the closing of the homeless camp on Broadway.

Michael Dunthorn, the city’s program coordinator for the Office on Homelessness, said "he had calls from people concerned about the homeless population before the “day space” was created and he’s had some afterwards. It’s hard to tell."

Eric Johnson is the Vestal Community Organization’s president, but he also works as a social worker for Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Office on Aging. He is quoted a saying "As a social worker, I think (cleaning up homeless camps) is literally more favorable. Now, I know it’s impacting residents and properties, but what it is is homeless people congregating in places that are safer for them.”

  • Opioid use

The KNS report also discusses how South Knoxville has been hit hard by opioid use.

An average of four people a day in Knox County received naloxone from emergency workers to counter opioid overdose, a new report says, and the South Knoxville saw a massive increase.

South Knox County, in particular, saw a significant increase — 61 percent — between the two years studied, October 2016-September 2017 and October 2017-September 2018. The report showed the areas most affected were the Vestal area (including Montgomery Village housing development), South Haven, South Knoxville close to downtown and Old Sevier.

michael kaplan's picture

what it is is homeless people

what it is is homeless people congregating in places that are safer for them

Received this text today from a UT colleague after he read the article:

I found and read. It’s good you [in Vestal] have provided the druggies a safer environment to shoot up in!

michael kaplan's picture

The city's proposal to

The city's proposal to provide 40 - 45 beds in a "low-barrier" shelter within the old Salvation Army thrift store is a good start, but Knoxville likely needs ten times that number following the "clean up" under the I-40 bridge. ("Clean up" is the city's term, not mine.)

Charlotte, for example, is currently providing 340 "low-barrier" beds in their latest shelter.

The alternative is the dispersal of the most dangerous and in-danger homeless people into South and North Knoxville's close-in neighborhoods.

bizgrrl's picture

Maybe someone took your

Maybe someone took your suggestion

It seems to me the old Salvation Army thrift store - sitting empty for a couple of years - could be used as a dormitory.


Plans are now in the works to turn the old Salvation Army thrift store, which is just near the "day space," into a low barrier, emergency shelter.

michael kaplan's picture

Knoxville/Knox County 10-year plan (2005)

Knoxville/Knox County 10-year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, 2005.

sobi's picture



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