Since receiving notification of a $2.2 million federal grant to serve local residents who are currently or at risk for experiencing homelessness due to COVID-19, the City has asked community groups for input on prioritizing the funds for services that will make the most impact.
Today, the City released a draft list of priorities that qualify for Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding from the federal CARES Act:
- Rental and utility assistance
- Street outreach
- Services to overcome language/cultural barriers
- Emergency shelter improvements (physical separation and space capacity) in preparation for colder weather
- Increased emergency shelter space capacity for families
- Emergency shelter and essential services for unaccompanied youth
- Mobile medication-assisted treatment (MAT) medical and mental health services
- Equity study on the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a database required for any recipients of ESG-CV Round 2 funding
Priorities were informed by Mayor Indya Kincannon and Michael Dunthorn, Homeless Program Coordinator for the City’s Office on Homelessness, as well as service providers who participated in recent meetings and submitted Community Needs Assessment Surveys. Participants reported on challenges their clients are experiencing due to COVID-19 and the requests they are unable to fulfill through existing programs and funding resources.
Participants included smaller organizations that have had difficulty being able to access ESG funds in the past as well as established organizations that have more experience in applying for federal grants.
Once finalized, these priorities will determine the rating of grant applications; those that address priority needs will be rated higher than those that do not. Serving people of color and other underserved populations is also a priority. Mayor Kincannon has encouraged innovation and partnerships between organizations to ensure that residents are served equitably.