Let's Talk: Development
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to work with the Salvation Army. I organized the event, OPERATION: Selfless Service. As we packed the care packages and headed into the city on foot- I got a chance to walk with a long-time resident of the city; Mr. Fred. He gave me an ear full of what Martin Luther King BLVD used to be. We passed many empty units that are sitting empty and it made me wonder the potential District 8 has!
This past week, there was a news article in the Times free press about homeless Chattanoogans being removed from the decades-old encampment. Within the article, there was one of the over 1,000 Chattanoogans experiencing homelessness, that said she has camped in the same spot on Workman Road for 23 years until she was made to leave on Tuesday.
As my heart went out to her, it also made me think to myself how we, as a city, have let those individuals down. To have community members who are homeless for so long and not have resources available to help with transitioning these individuals back into the community as citizens is a failure.
As I passed the empty units, I see much potential of small businesses to help create job opportunities. There’s much development that can take place in District 8. Helping our homeless population transition from the streets into the workforce and getting housing- has so much potential that can cause our small businesses to be sustainable.
This ties into the ability to have affordable and quality housing. Creating jobs and affordable housing is something that we can make happen to allow these homeless citizens a future. There is no need for our city to have vacant buildings while we have over 100,000 Chattanoogans on the street.
There is longevity that comes with helping get our homeless community members have the opportunity back into society. This starts with the city elected officials to see the need and the improvements that can come from this!