The Issue: Homelessness

D. Cheré Bradshaw
Executive Director, Community Alliance for the Homeless

In Memphis/Shelby County, there are a number of persons whose primary nighttime residence is a place that is not meant for human habitation. These places include cars, parks, abandoned buildings, and various locations throughout our city’s streets.  Others reside in emergency shelter facilities, which are meant to provide a temporary solution for persons who experience homelessness.

In December of 2010, Memphis/Shelby County adopted a ten-year plan to end homelessness as a mechanism to mobilize community leadership, maximize community involvement, and to strategically address the causes of homelessness in our community. Since then, we have noticed a significant decrease in the number of individuals and families whose lives are affected by homelessness. ...Read More

What’s working? Housing First is a low-barrier approach that simplifies the process of helping a person to obtain housing and additional resources that are needed to boost self-sufficiency.  Individuals in emergency shelter facilities are experiencing quicker exits to permanent housing. Mediation is an effective strategy that helps to reduce the number of families who experience homelessness. More programs offer emergency housing and other assistance to person fleeing domestic violence and resources for pregnant or parenting youth. Our success in providing housing and other supports, however, does not overshadow the fact that there is still work to be done to ensure that experiences with homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring.

While everyone agrees that homelessness is a problem, the homeless service providers of our community believe that the problem is 100% solvable! We are honored to serve on the dedicated team of champions who fight to prevent and end homelessness in Memphis/Shelby County around the clock. Recognized for our efforts at both state and national levels, the TN-501 Continuum of Care is committed to utilizing the resources within our community to impact positive change.