SMARM sees an increase in the number of people in need of housing

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries SMARM said it has doubled the number of people seeking help finding affordable housing.

“We had a couple on a couch here cuddling when the dumpsters were emptied and slept through it,” said Ryan Huskey, executive director of SMARM.

He said cases were up with people looking for a safe place to sleep at night permanently.

“We had a few guys sleeping on our cement dock here. And most of the people we see here are at least familiar to us,” he said.

Husky said many people who arrive and need SMARM’s services call home in the city of Sevierville’s Greenway system, living under bridges and overpasses.

“We have several clients that we see on a regular basis who live on the streets and I think that’s probably more than people even have a clue there is,” he said.

Huskey said many of the new clients are people who moved here looking for a job but then have no place to live.

Combine with Tennessee’s new homeless law, others are seeking help because they cannot live on the streets.

“They find themselves living in their car or living on the street or going from motel to motel paying overnight rates. They want to be or they choose to be, for whatever reason, and we respect that. But that makes it more difficult and they’re afraid to travel all over town or county or you know to go to different parts of the state,” Huskey said.

Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries helps with emergency housing or rental assistance. For more information about their services, you can visit them here.

Copyright 2022 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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