UT, Knoxville/Knox County Coalition to Release Study on Homelessness May 9

KNOXVILLE—The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Knoxville/Knox County Homeless Coalition will release a study Wednesday, May 9, about the ongoing challenges of homelessness in the area and highlight successes, including housing placement.

The 2:00 p.m. event will be at the Bill Lyons Pavilion on Market Square, downtown Knoxville.

Members of the Knoxville/Knox County Homeless Coalition and the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (KnoxHMIS), housed in the College of Social Work, will present the findings.

This is the first time the presentation will combine the results of two studies: a biennial study from an in-depth survey of 236 people experiencing homelessness and an annual examination of population demographics and services provided to 7,320 individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Roger Nooe, College of Social Work professor emeritus and social services director for the Community Law Office, authored the first study. Nooe has been conducting biennial studies of Knoxville and Knox County homeless individuals and families since 1986. David A. Patterson, a professor of social work and director of the KnoxHMIS, data analyst Stacia West, and graduate students prepared the second study. The KnoxHMIS annual reports have been issued since 2007.

“This research offers two distinct perspectives on the homeless population,” Patterson said. “You get a broad overview of the demographics and services delivered to individuals and families and a deeper look into the experience of being homeless.

“What both studies do is expand our understanding of the complexities of homelessness, which in turn allows us to better match services delivery and public policy towards the goal of ending homelessness.”

KnoxHMIS began operations in 2004, enabling agencies to collect and share demographic information to reduce duplicate services and conserve resources. Now, the homeless management information system—which has captured the data on more than 27,500 unique people—provides up-to-the-minute information, like how many people were housed in transitional housing the previous night.

Patterson noted that 3,400 people have been placed in housing since July 2008. The information management system helps measure the effectiveness of agencies’ efforts to house and serve homeless individuals and families.

The system is beneficial in many ways, Patterson said.

“At the client level, it allows them to seek services without having to tell their stories again,” he said. “It informs practices and service delivery; it serves the city and county in terms of knowing the dimensions of the problems and how many people are being housed; it serves the federal government by reporting the situation and outcomes.”

CONTACT:

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lola.alapo@tennessee.edu)

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