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Part Eight: Housing First (Pt. 2)

For too many people in Chattanooga, the cost of renting an apartment is beyond their means. According to Zumper, an online apartment search site, in the last year, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Chattanooga jumped by 18.3% over the past year to an average rent of $1,550 a month, Realtors are reporting that the rise in rental prices is now slowing, but for many people finding affordable housing is almost insurmountable. And when they lose their job and don’t have a family to help them until they find a job, they have no other option than to live on the street. According to the CHATT Foundation over 4000 people, including over 1000 school-age children, were forced to live on the street in Chattanooga last year.

In this second part of a two-part look at the fundamental issue facing both the city and the unsheltered--finding an affordable place to live, we talked to Casey Tinker, the manager of The City of Chattanooga’s Office of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Mr. Tinker talked about the city’s plans to convert the Airport Inn motel on Lee Highway into 80 apartments along with an on-site support staff helping people with the practical and emotional challenges they face as they leave the ad hoc community on the street to independent living in an apartment.

Richard Winham joined WUTC five years after the station began broadcasting to the Chattanooga area and the Tennessee Valley.