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Report shows increase in use of Knox Co. homeless services

9:21 PM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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The question of how to handle homelessness in Knox County is once again in the spotlight.

The controversial 'Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness' may have stumbled a few years ago, but that hasn't stopped advocates from pushing for change.

Wednesday, the Knoxville, Knox County Homeless Coalition released its latest look at the homeless population, which they do every two years.

Their findings show a slight increase in the use of homeless services, which grew by about three percent between 2010 and 2011.

On average, the group estimates about 1,600 people in our area are struggling with homelessness, including individuals and families with children. 80 percent of those are from this area.

Recurring themes in the report include job loss, disability and mental illness, all of which are presented as contributing factors.

Coalition President Bruce Spangler says he hopes the report increases the urgency of the need for solutions.

"Apart from just information, what we are really hoping today is to have some kind of passionate inspiration. Now that we have the findings, what are we going to do with it? So, we'd like to challenge the community and our civic leaders to take this and use it and take it from information to action."

Spangler says overall, local services and facilities have done a good job responding to the problem by helping the homeless any way they can.

They're concerned that no plan currently exists to address the issue from a public policy standpoint.

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