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Ending Homelessness in Chattanooga

The City’s approach to ending homelessness is three-pronged:


 Helping residents experiencing homelessness find a permanent home

The only durable solution to homelessness is a home, and the City has significantly increased its capacity over the past year to place residents experiencing homelessness in a permanent home. By streamlining processes and strengthening collaborations with community partners, OHSH, with our community partners, has housed more than 2000 people since Mayor Tim Kelly took office.

The City is also working to develop a new, 70+ unit permanent supportive housing complex, which is a proven best practice nationwide for helping residents who previously experienced homelessness recover, stabilize, and re-integrate into the community in a safe and controlled environment. If successful, the project will be replicated across the City to fill an estimated deficit of more than 400 permanent supportive housing units, according to recent research.

 Prevent residents from becoming homeless

Any number of unexpected hardships can lead to homelessness. Sudden loss of employment, unexpected bills, rises in rent and the cost of living, serious illness, or countless other life events can lead to lapses in rent or mortgage payments - which then lead to costly evictions or foreclosures that result in the loss of a home.

The City is engaged in multiple initiatives that together will reduce the risk for many of these hardships, helping stop the rise in homelessness that has been occurring since the beginning of the pandemic. These include:

  • An unprecedented affordable housing initiative to increase affordable housing stock across the city
  • The Eviction Prevention and Eviction Diversion programs, which have prevented costly and traumatizing evictions for hundreds of residents in need
  • Workforce training programs, like the recently launched Construction Career Center, that are creating clear pathways to stable, good-paying jobs for those who need them most
  • The Community Forward program, a partnership with Hamilton County Schools to place navigators within schools inside the city limits who can provide at-risk students and their families with connections to needed resources

 Addressing the impacts of homelessness on the community

The impact of the rise in homelessness in Chattanooga has been felt community-wide, beyond those in immediate crisis. And while the focus areas above are the key solutions to ending homelessness in the city for good, it will take time for some of these initiatives to create long-lasting change. To address the impacts of homelessness on the community in the short term, the City has:

  • Allocated American Rescue Plan funds to develop the City’s first low-barrier, high-capacity shelter, which will allow residents experiencing homelessness to find temporary shelter while being connected with the services and support needed to find a permanent home
  • Coordinated regular meetings with downtown stakeholders, alongside Chattanooga Police Department representatives and Downtown Alliance workers, to more efficiently respond to residents experiencing homelessness who need assistance, and competently address illegal behavior from troublemakers.
  • Added police bike and foot patrols to provide more immediate assistance to residents in business corridors, while reopening public restrooms that were closed during the pandemic to allow unsheltered residents to use the bathroom indoors.



Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
1001 Lindsey Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402(map)

Helpline: (423) 643-7663


OHSH data dashboard


Dottie Brewer