GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Homelessness is a nationwide issue that continues to affect various areas of East Tennessee, one of those areas is Greene County.
More than 50 families in Greeneville and more than 100 families in Greene County experience homelessness. Coalition Addressing Needs of Unhoused People (CANUP) is a new non-profit organization in Greene County that aims to address that issue.
“62% of the people that are homeless are not what you think,” said Lori Grabner, Operations Manager for CANUP. “62% of the people that are homeless here are families with children, mothers, fathers, some trying to work, and some trying to live in motels.”
CANUP started in March and has since been working to help alleviate some issues those experiencing homelessness are experiencing. One of those issues is having a lack of food. Mike Hartsell with CANUP said they try and pack food bags to hand out to the homeless community.
“We try to prepare a pack that can be handed out. That’s got a water, a liquid, a protein, a snack, the kind of things that we can use to give people a bit of a lift and some nutrition that has value,” said Hartsell.
Hartsell told News Channel 11 that many children in the Greeneville and Greene school system are homeless.
“It’s a big problem,” said Hartsell. “We’re looking at what’s just on the surface but dealing with the underlying issues, it’s going to take some time.”
CANUP works with local churches and volunteers in the area to help feed and shelter unhoused people.
“If everybody would give just a little bit, we could conquer this,” said Grabner. “We could make a change, and if you change one child’s life, you change that family’s course of history. If you change one family’s course of history, you change the history for the whole county.”
CANUP is still new, and they are working to grow their organization and the help they offer by meeting with both the Greeneville mayor and the Greene County mayor.