MANNIS TO CALL FOR RENEWED FOCUS ON HOMELESSNESS IN KNOXVILLE
KNOXVILLE, TN, July 23, 2019 - City leader and candidate for Mayor of Knoxville Eddie Mannis, called for a new focus on the homelessness epidemic in the City of Knoxville. He plans to devote special attention to two underlying issues that often contribute to homelessness: mental health and substance abuse. “Our city must have a dedicated and compassionate focus to combating all factors of homelessness.”
Mannis understands that homelessness is a complex issue. Within the first 100 days of taking office, Mannis will assemble a task force comprised of city officials, community stakeholders, and representatives from non-profits across the city. Mannis will chair this working group, whose primary focus will be to update “Knoxville’s Plan to Address Homelessness”, with the goal of rethinking and refocusing our approach to reducing the city’s sizable homeless population.
“This is an issue that I hear concern about from all corners of Knoxville, North to South, East to West,” said Mannis. “My working group will work to bring together some of the best minds from our city and work together to better understand and address this problem.”
While homelessness is an issue that impacts Knoxvillians from all backgrounds, Mannis will urge the task force to focus initially on two of the most vulnerable groups facing homelessness: veterans and children. He will direct the City’s Office of Homelessness to coordinate the efforts of local military organizations, the VA, and other private sector stakeholders, to get veterans off the streets and into permanent housing.
The group will will also work to identify soon-to-be veterans at risk of homelessness before they leave the armed forces. “Every veteran who has served, defending our nation, should have a home to come back to when their service is finished. I will make veterans a top priority in my administration and continue to advocate for them just as I have done as a private citizen through HonorAir.”
Mannis will address the challenge of children facing homelessness by working with groups like Knox Area Rescue Ministries and Family Promise of Knoxville. Their first task will be addressing the placement of families with children into temporary homes. Additionally, Mannis will work with Knox County schools to ensure that students facing homelessness have access to needed resources before, during, and after the school day.
Mannis will also urge the task force to help create a program, modeled after the “Family Scholar House” in Louisville, which helps single parents and those aging out of the foster care system access temporary housing, career advice, and healthcare. Specifically, Mannis will use the Scholar House model to establish a strategic partnership comprised of the City of Knoxville, KCDC, and Pellissippi State. This partnership will help young people facing temporary or long-term homelessness set career and educational goals, and will work to secure permanent housing.
“Children are the lifeblood of tomorrow’s Knoxville, and as mayor I will do everything in my power to ensure that every child in the City of Knoxville has opportunities for a better future,” Mannis said. “A child facing homelessness is a witness to things no young person should ever see, and we have to commit to fight for them. Until we can create a sense of value and hope among our most vulnerable we cannot make effective progress on this issue.”