For the first time, the number of Knoxville residents who are homeless for the first time decreased by 14 percent last year, according to a press release from the University of Tennessee.
The study was conducted by members of the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (KnoxHMIS), which is located at the UT College of Social Work. Researchers found that local agencies served 9, 388 individuals and families last year, and 7,773 of those people were homeless. Agencies were able to place 561 people into permanent housing.
"The challenging part is that 561 represents only a small percent of those who were homeless, so we need to do more," said David A. Patterson, a UT social work professor and director of KnoxHMIS. But, he added, "The work toward preventing homelessness is being effective. Those programs are finding people who are at risk of homelessness or falling into homelessness, and are housing them."
The study also busted the persisting myth that most of the homeless in Knoxville are from other cities and states. It found that 78 percent of the homeless are from Knox County and the surrounding counties.