A Blount County non-profit is opening their doors to help house victims of the Sevier County wildfires that have fallen through the cracks of other aid programs.
Family Promise of Blount county is now housing three families, according to executive director Kathi Parkins.
She said with their experience helping keep families off the street, they felt compelled to help in Sevier County, but knew they would struggle to place people locally. The wildfires destroyed hundreds of homes.
“We sat down together as a staff and said we need to do something,” said Parkins. “We have housing, we have the apartments.”
“We were perfectly willing to go to Sevier County but realized the housing options there, we were not familiar with as much as we are in Blount County,” she added.
The group has managed to assist without dipping into the normal operating budget, thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Authority. Because of that, they’ve been able to supply their clients with gas, groceries and clothing as well.
“That really enabled us to do much more than we could have done on our own,” said Parkins.
She said even though this work falls outside their normal scope, they’re happy to expand, because they couldn’t stand idly by.
“There is so much human need all the time, not just here,” she said. “When something happens, how can you say no? How can you say we don’t have the staff, or the money, or the resources? You find them and do what needs to be done to help people.”
Parkins said they’re able to house several more families. To contact Family Promise, call 865-233-4737.