By Ellis Smith –
The City of Chattanooga’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is working alongside its partners to offer alternative housing arrangements to residents of homeless encampments on properties leased by the city and owned by Norfolk Southern.
After safety incidents with encampment residents walking along tracks and climbing on trains, Norfolk Southern and the city have collaborated on solutions to move them to a safer location.
Already, the city has been working to notify residents, providing more than two months’ advance notice of the coming move. Simultaneously, the city and its partners have arrangements in place to help ensure a smooth transition, with Norfolk Southern committing financial resources to further support those efforts.
“I’m proud of our service providers and community partners who are working diligently and alongside our team to ensure residents of the property are quickly housed,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “I am also grateful to Norfolk Southern for committing resources for relief and rehousing efforts and for being flexible on a timeline to allow the city to come into compliance with safety requirements on their property.”
A coalition of organizations including the Community Kitchen, Homeless Healthcare, The Salvation Army, the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority will work together to help residents locate safe options for a new home by the May 31 final move date.
Coalition members last week canvassed the properties to create a list of people staying on site, and residents were notified today of the railroad’s request for them to relocate, as well as the coalition’s plan to help them find more suitable living arrangements.
About the Author: Ellis Smith is the Director of Special Projects for the City of Chattanooga. Follow Ellis on Twitter @ellisthered