Letter: Upbeat Update

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602 S. Gay Street
2nd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

The “Homelessness Plan Update” [Citybeat by Paige Huntoon, March 20, 2014] showed a positive City Council, but the article created its own positive tone—not just Council accolades for a presentation, but showing a process ready to move forward. And Ms. Huntoon was right to point out that only one person spoke from the public. One is all you need if that voice is on target.

When I first knew by name people who were without homes, I knew I could solve some problems, but I was overwhelmed by some. Anyone asking for ball caps during the summer, no problem. But then there’s the Old Man. His house was condemned and demolished. He was facing nursing home or no home. All he wanted was an apartment close by, so he could stay in the neighborhood with his friends. A charity-landlord connection got him a nearby apartment. This connection worked. The [homelessness] plan also has a role for landlords.

Recently a man was telling me about his financial issues. His boss was doing the job of cutting hours, the bank was doing its job by eyeing foreclosure. He didn’t resent their jobs. But he was having trouble with a job that was personal. “If I lose my home, what will happen to my dog?” I don’t know... but the plan does call for assistance to avoid homelessness based on emergency.

By the time this letter is printed, the homelessness plan may be decided. There will be talk of budgets, public outcries, even some Bible reading. But the only people who are right in this issue are the ones who feel that doing something is the right thing to do. Thank you, Mayor’s Roundtable.

Larry Pennington


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