Nearly everybody wants something they can call their own. It could be money, fame or a special talent. Yet, for those families whose lives have been decimated by drug use, unemployment and financial setback, "wanting" can be as simple as the security of living together in a home of their own.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton claims, "The key here is permanent housing and in addition to that not only a square building, bricks and mortar, but the support services needed to really make a house a home."
The refurbished Idlewild Apartments in Midtown was the sight for a celebration of what collaboration can accomplish in lifting the human spirit. Wharton and County Mayor Mark Luttrell were on hand as another milestone was recorded in their joint action program to end homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County.
"Homelessness will end for 900 families," touted Wharton.
Two major agreements are responsible for making this latest step of significant progress possible. Memphis Homeless Prevention's Rapid Rehousing program got a boost from the venerable Memphis Interfaith Association and MIFA agreed to turn over 73 properties formerly managed by their housing opportunities branch and transfer management to North Memphis Community Development Corporation. In conjunction, the launch of the Memphis Strong Families Initiative and their collaborative with various city, county and federal agencies, along with more than a handful of non-profits, has resulted in amassing $8-million to aid the homeless families with short-term financial assistance and home-based support.
"If you look at homelessness it's really a symptom of so many other issues that we face in our community. Everything from education, to economic development to mental and physical disabilities," said Luttrell.
Katie Kitchin with Memphis End Homelessness added, "We're one of five communities in the United States with the opportunity to test whether permanent housing can save children from the painful legacy of foster care placements and family dissolution."