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Homelessness task force… Pastor Brandon Young discusses new role

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Brandon Young has been selected as chair of Carter County’s homelessness task force.
 
This task force is aimed at finding solutions to the growing homeless population in the area.
 
Young, who is the pastor at Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, described his feelings at being asked to take on the role. 
 
“Truly I feel honored that they asked me to take on the role,” he said. “I think it’s a very important role and I feel like we need a permanent homeless shelter here in Carter County, I feel like we have a need here.”
 
Young said the idea of establishing a permanent homeless shelter in Carter County is ultimately one of his biggest goals. 
 
Earlier this year, Commissioner Robert Acuff reached out to Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, or KARM, a faith-based organization combating homelessness in Knoxville, and held a meeting via ZOOM.
 
During this meeting, Young was a participant in the conversation and liked the organization’s approach to homelessness. He hopes to tour KARM’s facility with other officials, including Acuff, in the near future. 
 
“I think my goal is a homeless shelter that produces or creates a productive citizen,” he said. “Not just a place you go to stay the night and then leave. I think it needs a place where you have a purpose and you can help.”
 
Young praised KARM on the work they do to combat the recurring homeless cycle.
 
Some of the work that goes into this organization includes offering work and educational options to those who stay in the facilities to get them back on their feet.
 
A desire to help people has been with Young since he was a child when he gave himself to God.
 
At the age of 18, Young became a preacher and eventually a pastor while in college. He has served as a teacher and a guidance counselor in school systems as well.
 
Young is also a father and a husband. 
 
He believes that helping people also comes with sharing the Gospel as there is no greater gift. 
 
In his new role, Young is optimistic.
 
“I will do the best I can to get folks help. That’s for sure,” he said.