24-hour Memphis homeless helpline disconnected

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A 24-hour hotline that helped connect homeless women and children with city services is no longer operating.

Not everyone was notified, leaving other groups trying to help people wondering where they should refer people.

According to the Community Alliance for the Homeless, the Emergency Housing Partnership Homeless Hotline is the city of Memphis' responsibility.

The alliance said the helpline was disconnected August 1, but would not say why and directed questions to Housing and Community Development, which did not return emails on Monday.

Now, if a family has a housing emergency they're supposed to go to the Metropolitan Interfaith Association, also known as MIFA, on Vance Avenue between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

"Now what do we tell them, you know?" questioned Tamara Hendrix. Hendrix said she was devastated when she heard the emergency housing hotline was down.

Hendrix works for HOPE, Homeless Organizing Power and Equality. On Friday she was trying to help a woman and her child after a domestic dispute.

"She's young and she had no other resources," said Hendrix.

Thankfully the young woman was eventually connected to the necessary resources.

The 24-hour hotline was the first line for help where a person could call the number, then get some answers about what their next move should be, where they could go to be safe and have a roof over their head.

"Especially in the middle of the night because they were giving assistance to persons in the middle of the night, right away," said Hendrix.

When WREG called the number on Monday, 206-HOME, a recording said, "We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service."

The hotline has been around since 2009.

It was part of the city's effort to fight homelessness.

No one returned any of the numerous calls and emails to the city.

Hendrix said groups trying to help people shouldn't be in the dark.

"We should've been informed so we can make an informed decision to our citizens about what to do next."

The Community Alliance for the Homeless said the hotline is not gone for good but said they did not know when it would be back.

If you need housing help or to help others you can call 211 or the Community Alliance for the Homeless at (901) 527-1302.

In a domestic violence situation, the family can call the YWCA at 901-725-4277 or the Family Safety Center at 901-274-7477.

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