Thursday, March 20, 2014

Homelessness Falls in Memphis for Second Year

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton addresses a crowd gathered Thursday at Estival Place.
  • Toby Sells
  • Memphis Mayor A C Wharton addresses a crowd gathered Thursday at Estival Place.

Homelessness in Memphis fell 21 percent since 2012, according to the annual homeless census taken in the city by the Community Alliance for the Homeless.

Alliance volunteers fan out across the city each January and conduct surveys with homeless people. The latest results were announced at a news conference Thursday morning by leaders from the Alliance, which includes elected officials, and those from the non-profit and faith communities.

The latest reduction builds on the 13 percent reduction in homelessness reported in 2012. Family homelessness last year was reduced by 31 percent, according to the census results.

Kenzie Cleaves tells her story out of homelessness Thursday.
  • Toby Sells
  • Kenzie Cleaves tells her story out of homelessness Thursday.
Kenzie Cleaves said she came to live in Estival Place, a transitional housing complex for homeless families, four months ago. Cleaves got out of jail in September and when she did, she had no place for her or her children to live.

The Department of Children’s Services connected Cleaves with Estival Place, which was established in 1991 by the Metropolitan Inner-Faith Association and later donated to the Promise Development Corporation. The place and the programs it offers has helped Cleaves become a better mother, she said.

“I was in the fast life and didn’t have time for (her children),” she said. “I wanted to rip and run the streets and all of that. We were living here and there and it was like God sent an angel over my head and now I feel stress free and peaceful. Now I have a place I can call home.”

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