A new tomorrow

Crossroads ribbon cutting celebrates hope for homeless

A new facility for homeless young men opened Saturday beside the Blount County Children’s Home in Maryville.

The Crossroads Transitional Program is in a house situated beside the children’s home on McCammon Avenue behind Kmart. On Aug. 22, board members joined former Children’s Home resident Candy Long as she cut the ribbon to officially open the house and introduce the program.

Newly hired Crossroads director Derrick Harmon said the program is designed for young men from 18 to 21 years of age who have been abandoned or are homeless. There are eight beds in the four bedroom house, and the young men can live there for up to 180 days. “We’re going to help them complete their education, find a job and find permanent housing,” Harmon said.

Board member John Huffman said the residents learn life skills. “They work to become self sufficient and focus on living skills,” he said. “They help them with getting a job, keeping a job and finding permanent housing.”

Harmon said Blount County Children’s Home director Rod Jackson wanted the house built beside the Children’s Home to be a transitional facility for young men. “He knew there was this need in the county that was not being met,” Harmon said. “That’s the reason it is so important for our county. We have three referrals we are checking into. The house is open, and we’re ready to go.”

Harmon said between 75 and 100 people showed at the ribbon cutting. Members of area British Car Clubs converged on the Children’s Home campus to offer a fund raiser as guests “voted” for their favorite cars. A motorcycle ride that started at the American Legion Post 13 on Waters Road, Maryville, and ended at the campus also brought about 25 motorcycle riders to the event, board member John Huffman said.

“The event was a success. We raised probably $1,500 through the car show and through donations,” he said.

Huffman said the operation also gets funding from a grant through the Tennessee Housing Development Corporation. The new program will work through other agencies such as Helen Ross McNabb, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Blount County Juvenile Court to identify candidates for the program.

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