By Shea Smith, WBIR

Knoxville and Knox County leaders held a summit Wednesday that focused on chronic homelessness in the area. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs invited Justice Knox, an interfaith actvisit group that aims to address injustice, as well as local and national experts to discuss homelessness.

They gathered to discuss ways to make Knoxville on track to be “functional-zero” for chronic homelessness. At “functional zero,” homelessness would be rare and brief periods when people may not have a certain place to live.

Julia Orlando has worked with the Bergen County Housing Health and Human Services Center, in New Jersey. The county is one of three in the U.S. to reach “functional zero” for chronic and veteran homelessness.

“We were able to identify some of the replicable characteristics in a community to help them get to functional zero,” said Orland. “Having access to affordable and safe housing is very important. Making sure people have access to services, and healthcare is very important.”

James Tuttle with CareCuts, a Knoxville nonprofit that seeks to help make sure homeless people’s basic needs are met, said providing people with all of the services in one place will also help reduce the number of people living on the street.

“What we want is people to be there, to assist them and find the services they need. And work with them to get back off the street and living a normal life again,” said Tuttle.

Kincannon said the top problem factoring into homelessness is housing.

“We need to get more housing built,” says Mayor Kincannon. “We need more housing that is attainable for people.”

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