In May 1987, the Metropolitan Council for Community Services (now known as the Community Research Council) completed a Chattanooga Survey of the Homeless. This effort was the primary impetus for the development of the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition. In 1995, the Coalition was incorporated and received its 501(c) 3 status from the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit corporation. Since 1998 the Coalition has been the lead agency instrumental in the development and preparation of the Southeast TN Continuum of Care and has expanded this effort to include eleven Southeast Tennessee Counties. To date there has been $15,221,403.00 dollars awarded to our region through this application process.
Since 1998, the Coalition has held the Grateful Gobbler Walk for the Homeless as an annual fund raiser to help fund agencies that provide services for the homeless in our region. This effort continues to grow each year. To date there have been over 15,000 walkers involved in this event and over $285,000.00 raised for homeless agencies in our area. This event continues to grow and has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition for many families in our area.
In 1999, two additional programs were added to the Coalition, Service Point, the database for our Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which has at present has about 130 providers and or agencies and programs currently on the system and Community Voice Mail which provides homeless and phoneless people a communication link to family, friends, service providers, health providers, potential landlords and employers. This program consists of 200 voice mail numbers that are distributed to various agencies who in turn distributed them to clients as needed.
In March 2004, a 14 member working group convened by the City of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition released the Blueprint to End Chronic Homelessness in the Chattanooga Region in Ten Years. The Blueprint’s “housing first” approach was designed to move chronically homeless individuals from the streets into permanent housing with supportive services. The current Blueprint was recently updated in 2007 and is available on our website.
The Coalition continues to offer educational workshops for service provider agencies and individuals who service the needs of the homeless individuals and families.
The Coalition membership is composed of public and private agencies, members of the various faith communities, concerned citizenry, and homeless/formerly homeless.
Since its inception the Homeless Coalition has had as its primary mission:
- To provide a forum in which homeless issues could be discussed and addressed.
- Advocating for the specific identified needs of individuals and families who are homeless to assure that the various systems involved work effectively on their behalf.
- Identify and develop funding sources from both the public and private sectors for homeless programs.
- Provide a vehicle through which information on homeless issues is disseminated to concerned agencies and organizations.