Homeless advocates beseech new council

By Mike Steely

When the city council meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. the five new members may be getting an ear full as advocates for the city’s homeless population plan to address the meeting.

Community Activist Vivian Underwood Shipe is rallying the Knoxville community to call the city council office and place their names on the list of speakers during the meeting’s “public forum.”

“As we approach the Christmas season of blessings and gift giving please help me help our vulnerable,” she has been asking. She’s urging people to call (865) 215-2075 and register to speak.

“The homeless are in every part of this city, from Cedar Bluff to Holston Hills. Let us make a concentrated effort to help make a change in their lives,” Shipe said.

Much of the concern comes after the city approved a $500,000 effort to help clean up the area on North Broadway. Under the City’s Office of Homelessness the effort would provide a day-use area beneath the bridge as well as having a security staff on hand with information for the homeless.

Advocates for the homeless, while welcoming the proposal, want the city to focus on housing for those unfortunate individuals.

Concern deepened among the advocates when the city moved in recently and disrupted a homeless camp beneath the bridge, removing tents, debris, and scattering the campers there.

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