UPDATE: City Manager Chris Dorsey told the East Ridge City Council in its meeting Friday afternoon that he had spoken with Chattanooga officials who stated they will not be renting 100 rooms from the Budgetel to house homeless from Chattanooga. Dorsey said Chattanooga officials said they were going with the only other motel that bid for contract.
Sources told East Ridge News Online on Thursday that the Chattanooga motel which would be housing the homeless is the Chatt Inn at 2000 East 23rd. St.
The plan to rent 100 rooms at the Budgetel motel in East Ridge to house homeless from Chattanooga has officially been put on pause.
That pause may not be necessary.
East Ridge News Online has learned that the City of Chattanooga intends to abandon its plan to rent 100 hotel rooms to house the homeless in the Budgetel, an extended-stay motel in East Ridge. Instead, they may house them in a motel on 23rd Street in Chattanooga.
At this point, no official announcement has been forthcoming from either officials in East Ridge or Chattanooga. However, two sources close to the situation have confirmed Chattanooga’s plan to pull the plug.
Early Thursday morning, East Ridge and Chattanooga officials met via a Zoom meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting, one source said, lasted less than 45 minutes.
“I expressed during our meeting that they (Chattanooga) needed to halt and readdress their plan and consider a solution within their city boundary,” said East Ridge Mayor Brian Williams, via text message.
According to a press release from the City of East Ridge released just after noon on Thursday, officials from East Ridge were in contact with officials from Chattanooga earlier that morning regarding the plan. It went on to state that “homelessness is a regional problem that requires a regional approach, (and) the City of Chattanooga is pausing to look at the best possible solution to this issue.”
On Tuesday, Tyler Yount with the Chattanooga Mayor’s office made a brief presentation to the Chattanooga City Council. The presentation, which sources say was two minutes in duration, was asking for council’s approval to accept $400,000 in reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the problem of homelessness.
The Chattanooga City Council unanimously approved the measure.
Sources tell East Ridge News Online that the specific details concerning the motel that would house the homeless for 90 days were not given during this meeting.
Mayor Williams said Tuesday that he first learned of Chattanooga’s intentions to rent 100 rooms in the Budgetel for homeless people through news reports.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on Thursday that a spokesperson from Chattanooga said renting rooms in the Budgetel to provide shelter for the homeless was nothing new.
In a written statement, Yount told the Times Free Press that Chattanooga’s Homeless Services officials have been renting as many as 25 rooms for the homeless at the Budgetel since April 2020.
Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd, who represents District 8, which includes East Ridge, checked in on the issue Wednesday afternoon. He penned a letter to East Ridge and Chattanooga officials saying that before any action took place in housing homeless from Chattanooga in an East Ridge motel an “interlocal agreement” must be negotiated.
Boyd said it was illegal for one municipality to unilaterally take action which requires resources and services from another municipality to address.
In part, Boyd’s letter read: According to the “Handbook for Interlocal Agreements and Contracts” issued by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (Washington DC, March 1967), a ” … municipal corporations’ powers generally are deemed to end at the municipal boundaries… ” without an interlocal agreement.