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Carter County hears from Knox homeless ministry leader

John Thompson • Updated May 21, 2020 at 9:59 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Many of Carter County and Elizabethton’s top leaders joined together in an electronic meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the homeless problem in Carter County and to listen to a Knoxville leader who works with a much larger homeless population in the Knoxville area.

The meeting was organized by Robert Acuff, a Carter County commissioner who represents Stoney Creek. Acuff invited all Carter County commissioners, City Council members from Elizabethton, local church leaders and state and local officials dealing with the homeless problem in the area to attend.

Acuff also invited Burt Rosen, president and chief executive officer of KARM — the Knoxville Area Resource Ministry.

Rosen discussed the various operations of KARM in Knoxville. The difference between the homeless problem in the two communities was immediately obvious to all. While KARM works with large numbers of homeless people, there is not a homeless shelter for men in Carter County.

Brandon Young, pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, said there had been a homeless shelter operated by Rivers Edge until recently. He said the county does have Recovery Soldiers Ministry, which he said does a good job in helping men overcome problems.

One thing that Rosen discussed that was approved by the audience was his statement that his operation was faith based and that most funding came from small donors. Carter County Commissioner Brad Johnson said that was the direction that a homeless shelter should follow in Carter County.

Rosen invited the group to come to Knoxville to see the organization in action. Several expressed an interest in such a trip.

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