Emergency overnight shelter gives women an answer

KNOXVILLE (WATE) — WATE 6 On Your Side News has looked at some of the struggles and successes of people who’ve moved off the streets and into residential recovery programs at KARM. But what happens to the homeless who just need a place to shower, get a meal or get out of the cold?

For women, the answer is Hope Haven, KARM’s emergency overnight shelter for women.

We found women there who’ve run from the streets, from a violent husband or from problems with parents.

“Um, I got involved with a guy that my family didn’t approve of because he’s got a drug history,” Candy Costanzo says. “We figured it would be best to start all over again in a new town and get a fresh start, so it’s been kind of hard.”

Another woman, Anna Ellis, has a different story. “Well, after an 11 year marriage, I had a mild stroke and my husband kicked me out. He thought I was messing around on him. I got in my van, started driving here.”

“Hopefully, we can get an apartment here and start over, get off the drugs cause I mean, for years I’ve done it,” Shannon Hooper says. “When I was 24, I had a mild heart attack from doing meth so I mean, I’ve done it for years. Yeah, that’s why my teeth are gone.”

Nine hundred people sleep in emergency shelters, on the streets, in cars, in transitional housing or double up with friends on any given night.

Between 8,000 and 9,000 people will experience homelessness at one time over the course of a year. And 13 percent of the chronically homeless, those who are homeless over a year, have children who suffer along with them.

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