Homelessness in Kingsport

United Way of Greater Kingsport recognizes the impact of homelessness and food insecurity on our community.

That's why, together with more than 25 local agencies and organizations, we formed the Kingsport Homeless Coalition in 2019. 

The Kingsport Homeless Coalition seeks to assist those in need by pairing them with resources for food, shelter, healthcare, education and self-sufficiency.  The goal is not only to provide emergency services but to improve overall quality of life. 






With the support of many community donors, the United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) has long supported homeless-serving organizations, from nationally-recognized Salvation Army, Hope Haven and Family Promise to Frontier Health's domestic violence shelter, Safe House.

These agencies have a bed-capacity to serve multiple adults and children, with Salvation Army alone able host over 40 individuals any given night, with 17,002 total nights of sleep in emergency shelter beds in 2023.

In addition to shelter, many organizations provide food through daily meals, food distribution and blessing boxes.  It's estimated 38,000 people in Northeast Tennessee use the support of food banks and soup kitchens and approximately 20,000 children in Northeast Tennessee are enrolled in free or reduced lunches, according to the "Map the Meal Gap" study in 2019. (https://map.feedingamerica.org/)


The goal of the Kingsport Homeless Coalition is to assist those in need, to live lives more fully self-sufficient, healthier and with educational access to community safety net resources. The goal is not only to assist with finding shelter and housing options but to help those experiencing homelessness have the opportunity for a better quality of life.  


The Origins of the Kingsport Homeless Coalition

During the summer of 2019, Kingsport City officials received an increasing number of safety-related complaints from downtown businesses and neighborhood citizens.  Many community organizations care for the homeless in our community with feeding programs, shelters and a variety of other ministries. However, the situation has become more complex as issues related to drug addiction and mental health impact many who find themselves homeless. After hearing and investigating these reports, Kingsport City acted with a proactive approach by meeting with United Way of Greater Kingsport board members to envision a long-term strategy for addressing homelessness in Kingsport. 



To forge a united front for homelessness among public, private, non-profit, and faith-based agencies to foster collaborative solutions and comprehensive support for lasting community impact.


To build an engaged community of resource providers that fully understands the complexities of homelessness and actively shares the responsibility of creating and implementing solutions to make it rare, brief, and non-recurring.  These solutions will include the utilization of:


•A sustainable, effective, and timely case management process

•Key partnerships for success among vital service providers

•Resources that are dedicated to funding management

•A data-based system for assessing performance and progress

•An effective communication plan for community awareness



Advocate, lead, implement, and coordinate processes and policies to provide connection to resources that are necessary for those who are experiencing homelessness and help reduce underlying causes for homelessness.


The Kingsport Homeless Coalition seeks to forge a united front for homelessness among public, private, non-profit, and faith-based agencies to foster collaborative solutions and comprehensive support for lasting community impact. This coalition is comprised of over 25 organizations including The Salvation Army of Kingsport, Family Promise of Kingsport, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, both City and County school systems, Department of Veteran’s Affairs and many others.


 2024 Kingsport Homeless Coalition

2024 KHC


Snow, rain, holidays or weekends, the needs in our community never stop. Homelessness is a stark reality that doesn't take a break, even when the rest of the world seems to pause. 

Every day, individuals and families across our community struggle to find shelter, warmth, and stability. They face the harsh realities of life on the streets, battling not only the elements but also societal stigma and indifference. Homelessness doesn't discriminate; it affects people from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, or background.

United Way of Greater Kingsport and the City of Kingsport joined efforts in 2019 to employ a Homeless Services Liaison (Jonathan Anderson) and a City Social Worker (Erin Gray) focused solely on our homeless population.  Jonathan and Erin both bring a wealth of individual experience to their roles- but together they are the boots on the ground, day-in and day-out first responders to assist one of our most at-risk populations.  They work from wherever the need arises, connecting those in crisis with shelter, food, transportation, health and self-sufficiency resources.  Sometimes that means finding an emergency shelter stay for an individual recently evicted or locating a safe place for a woman feeling domestic abuse. Other times it's helping a family in need secure permanent housing. Often it means filling out paperwork for lost identification, birth certificates or benefits. Always, it means showing up for a vulnerable population. 

In 2023, Jonathan and Erin were able to help 54 individuals secure permanent housing.  Through the Kingsport Homeless Coalition, countless others were sheltered, fed, clothed and provided the opportunity and resources for on-going case management.  By harnessing the power of the many, United Way of Greater Kingsport and the Kingsport Homeless Coalition seek to create a safe and compassionate Kingsport that offers a well-resourced path to self-sufficiency.

The work to end homelessness never stops, and neither do we.  

The Point in Time (PIT) count is conducted each January by the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH) through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, with official results yielded by April. 

Over a 24 hour period, volunteers in the local community attempt to make contact with those experiencing homelessness and gather as much data as possible to gain a better understanding of homelessness in our area. Many factors can affect the PIT count including weather, shelter capacities, and individuals willingness to participate.

Pit Count

In 2024, this data showed nearly 172 individuals (145 households) in the Kingsport area who were experiencing homelessness (sheltered or unsheltered) with 92 adults reporting a substance disorder, 59 reporting mental illness and 8 reporting domestic violence.

Click here to read the 2024 ARCH POINT IN TIME Count for Kingsport. 


Feed Kingsport


For families in our area struggling with food insecurity, there are multiple options to get three full meals a day in Kingsport.

In addition to shelter, many organizations provide FREE food resources in our community. 

To see a list of Food Banks, Free & Reduced Lunches, Blessings Baskets and more visit feedkingsport.org