Chattanooga Democratic Mayor Andy Berke reportedly wants to spend more taxpayer money on the homeless, even though past initiatives haven’t accomplished much in terms of results.
This, according to the Chattanooga-based WDEF.com, which detailed Berke’s plans.
“Chattanooga’s Homeless reduction initiative over the years has shown only marginal results. With the 2020 fiscal budget, Mayor Andy Berke and city leaders have raised the bar on funding and organizing programs,” according to the station.
“Mayor Berke’s budget includes 1.3 million dollars to get Chattanooga’s homeless into a permanent shelter. The city plans to spend 600-thousand dollars next year through Family Promise, Room at the Inn, Goodwill Furniture Bank and the Homeless Coalition.”
WDEF went on to report that it is difficult to estimate how many people need help, but the number is possibly as high as 4,000 people.
As The Tennessee Star reported last year, Nashville officials launched an initiative six years ago to end homelessness as we know it. The program, part of the “How’s Nashville” campaign, promised homelessness would end before 2017.
Back in 2013, the city’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency paired up with the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission and announced 200 housing opportunities for the chronically homeless.
They offered an unspecified amount of federal taxpayer money, via Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant money.
Apparently, though, city officials didn’t get enough cash the first go-round.
In 2018, according to Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV, city officials announced yet another initiative to end homelessness, this time among young people, using $3.54 million of federal taxpayer money, again from HUD.
There were other times officials in Tennessee used taxpayer money to end homelessness as we know it.
In 2014, then HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a $1.6 billion initiative to fight the problem. Exactly $18.1 million of that went to Tennessee. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN-09), announced that 13 nonprofits in his hometown would get $4.3 million of that.
In 2015, homelessness in Tennessee not yet cured, Cohen bragged about getting even more federal taxpayer money to eradicate homelessness, this time $6.9 million through what was called a Continuum of Care program.
The program gave taxpayer money to nonprofits that serve the homeless.
One of the five nonprofit recipients was the Beers Van Gogh Center of Excellence in Memphis.
Homeless people who lived there organized a protest against the center because one of its employees allegedly engaged in acts of violence and widespread sexual harassment against residents, according to the Memphis Flyer.
According to The Flyer, center officials did nothing about the man until homeless residents protested.
This, the paper went on, was part of a larger problem with homeless service networks called “Play To Stay,” implying homeless residents must endure such treatment in exchange for assistance.
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