2021-22 Budget Proposal Includes $1.5M for Critically Needed Permanent Supportive Housing

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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2021-22 Budget Proposal Includes $1.5M for Critically Needed Permanent Supportive Housing

Posted: 05/06/2021
Mayor Indya Kincannon’s proposed 2021-22 City Budget includes $1.5 million in local funds to support the development of one of the community’s most needed types of housing: permanent supportive housing. 

“Permanent supportive housing is a critical housing solution for individuals struggling with chronic homelessness,” Mayor Kincannon says. “Like many communities across the nation, Knoxville struggles to meet the various and complex needs of people experiencing homelessness. We are committed to finding solutions and working with community partners to create housing that provides the stability and support people need in order to live with dignity.” 

Permanent supportive housing pairs individuals with the stability of a permanent place to live and resources like case management, job training and addiction treatment that support a person’s ability to secure and remain in housing.

At a recent meeting of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Homelessness, street outreach workers stated that many of the unhoused people who are living in outdoor encampments express a desire for permanent housing but know they need additional help to address addiction, mental health and other issues in order to remain stably housed.

This $1.5 million to support efforts related to permanent supportive housing is committed in the budget as part of the new Affordable Housing Fund, which was approved unanimously by City Council at the budget’s first reading on May 4. 

The new Affordable Housing Fund, established by ordinance, commits the City to spending a minimum of $5 million per year for 10 years to create affordable housing—housing that costs its residents no more than 30 percent of their income.

More than $4 million in federal funding that flows through the City to local partners will supplement local funds to address homelessness during the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

The City allocates approximately $125,000 annually to support the operations of permanent supportive housing at Flenniken Landing, operated by Knoxville Leadership Foundation, and Minvilla Manor, operated by Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC). VMC is currently in the process of building Caswell Manor on E. Fifth Avenue, which will provide 48 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.

“Permanent supportive housing is a critical part of an overall strategy for strengthening our community with a mix of housing types that serve the needs of everyone who lives here,” says Becky Wade, Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development. “Additionally, permanent supportive housing promotes community diversity by equitably providing those most vulnerable in our community with a stable, dignified permanent housing option.” 

Homelessness service providers as well as residents rank permanent supportive housing as a high priority in the City’s Five-Year Consolidated Plan, a document prepared by Housing and Neighborhood Development staff to guide funding and programming decisions. 

Through the process of creating the plan and its annual updates (required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the City to receive federal funding), the City identifies where local dollars are most needed to fill in the gaps and support services that don’t qualify under specific federal programs. 

Legislative budget hearings will be held Thursday and Friday, May 13-14, with a public hearing set for 5 p.m. on Friday, May 14. A second Council vote on the proposed budget is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18. 

Visit KnoxvilleTN.gov/budget for more details, including a summary of how Mayor Kincannon’s budget supports her administration’s five key priorities: public safety; a clean and resilient future; healthy and connected neighborhoods; thriving businesses and good jobs; and good governance.

Visit KnoxvilleTN.gov/development to learn more about the City’s ongoing efforts to support affordable housing and address homelessness using local and federal funds via several partnerships, programs and projects.