Salvation Army in Chattanooga opens COVID-19 shelter

The Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga has opened a COVID-19 shelter for people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In cooperation with The City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County Health Department, The Salvation Army is providing a safe and clean overnight shelter during the recovery period for unhoused community members who need to stay isolated as they recover from COVID-19. Those requiring a more intensive level of care will recover at Hamilton County hospitals.

“We appreciate the public’s support while we care for those in recovery who have nowhere to safely isolate,” said Major Mark Smith, Chattanooga area commander.

As one of the area’s largest social providers, The Salvation Army is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, which is particularly important in times of crisis. For 127 years, the Greater Chattanooga Area Salvation Army has been serving on the front lines of need.

In part because of this legacy of Doing The Most Good, city and county health officials have been working with The Salvation Army the last several weeks on plans to provide safe, comfortable, emergency overnight shelter for unhoused neighbors who become ill with the novel coronavirus.

“We want to ensure that all Chattanoogans are safe as COVID-19 continues to have a presence in our community, and that’s especially true for our most vulnerable populations,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “I’m proud to partner with The Salvation Army to provide a safe space for those who need to isolate to keep themselves and the community safe.”

The Salvation Army is providing use of its 614 Corps facility at 800 McCallie Ave. and will manage intake. Hamilton County Health is providing patient care and monitoring patient and staff safety, while the city is funding shelter operations and providing case management and housing search services.

“For the past several weeks, we have been preparing for this day. Through this unprecedented time of crisis, The Salvation Army is committed to serving those who need our help,” Major Smith said.

In addition to the emergency overnight shelter, The Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga continues to meet community needs brought on by the economic impact of the coronavirus and the Easter tornadoes. Through its social services office, the Army provides food bags, utility and rent assistance, and more.  In Cleveland, Tennessee, The Salvation Army provides showers on a limited basis for the unhoused community along with social services.

“The community has been generous with their donations,” Smith said.  “This support has allowed us to assist families in need during these uncertain times.”

As the largest provider of poverty relief, The Salvation Army anticipates additional funding needs as it meets the increased demand for services. To contribute to The Salvation Army’s efforts, visit If you are in need, please call 423-756-1023 and ask for the social services offices.