Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly recently brought forth a plan to the City Council to turn the abandoned Airport Inn into 70+ new units of permanent supportive housing complete with wraparound services.
The boarded-up motel at 7725 Lee Hwy. was purchased by the city using ARP funds in October of 2021.
The planned space
The site is planned to serve as an “off-ramp from homelessness” + provide onsite services and security to residents. The city also wants to include a nonprofit to operate the facility (plans are in place to identify which nonprofit would take the spot through a request of upcoming proposals).
According to Mayor Kelly, the space would not serve as a homeless shelter, but rather ”... an apartment complex with services onsite that keep people housed for good.”
According to the city’s findings sent via press release:
- The project model is based on a nationwide initiative that boasts a 90% success ratio after three years.
- Over the last year in Hamilton County, 97% of those who moved into permanent supportive housing have remained housed.
- On average after three years, these residents typically graduate from support, work full-time jobs, and are able to contribute to their communities.
The community is invited to attend a public meeting about the project on Wed., Oct. 26 at the Family Justice Center at 6 p.m. Further details will be given and questions will be accepted about the project.
The City Council is slated to vote on the rezoning proposal on Tues., Nov. 1.
“This is a win for the community, this is a win for future residents, and it’s a story of renewal about how we turned a community problem into a community asset.” — Mayor Tim Kelly