Group presents plans to eliminate homelessness in Memphis with new plaza and shelter

Joint plan to address homelessness

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Plans for a new homeless shelter, with beds specifically for women, was announced Thursday afternoon at a joint meeting between the Shelby County Commission and Memphis City Council.

The entire project will cost about $8 million, at no expense to taxpayers. It will be built and funded by private donations.

Both the city and county have pledged $275,000 this year to operate the facilities.

At the meeting, a group called Hospitality Hub presented the layout for a plaza.

The plaza is meant to be used for services for the homeless population and a women’s shelter with 32 beds, specifically for homeless women and their children.

The shelter and plaza will be located at 501 Washington Avenue, where the old Public Service Vehicle Inspection Station used to be. The space has been vacant since 2013.

Hospitality Hub says a women’s shelter is a critical need in Memphis.

Women make up 37 percent of the homeless population, but only six percent of beds available for the homeless are designated for women.

“Our plaza and shelter are going to be a model for the United States. I think people are going to be coming from all over the country to see how Memphis designed this thing. I think you’ll see it on the national news and I think you’ll see people coming here all the time to try to replicate it," said Kelcey Johnson, Hospitality Hub executive director.

The space will have fire pits, a stage for events, rain shelters, a community garden and more.

They plan to make the space inviting and welcoming to all who need help.

The plaza will open later this year with a women’s shelter to come after.

At the shelter, there will also be programs with the ultimate goal of helping people get out of homelessness permanently.

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