Our History

"Since its inception, Room in the Inn has been privileged to assist over 3000 homeless women and children regain their independence with dignity and security."

In 1988, a study by the Chattanooga Metropolitan Council on homelessness found there were few options available to single women and women with children who found themselves homeless. Various organizations were invited to join in addressing this critical issue. The result was astonishing: Chattanooga Room in the Inn officially began on August 31, 1988, offering overnight shelter at seven area churches (Brainerd Church of Christ, Central Presbyterian Church, First Centenary United Methodist Church, First Christian Church, Hixson Church of Christ, Hixson United Methodist Church, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church). In 1992, Room in the Inn moved into its own facility and developed into a fully operational shelter open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Since its inception, Room in the Inn has been privileged to assist over 3000 homeless women and children regain their independence with dignity and security.

Chattanooga Room in the Inn (CRITI) is a three to nine month residential program for homeless women and children. Services provided at CRITI are free of charge and include transitional housing, three meals a day, access to affordable or free health care, life skills training, parenting classes, mentoring, assistance with finding affordable housing, and case management services. This program allows the women and their children to find stability and thereby increase their opportunities and chances for independence when they leave the program.

As a non-profit, 501(C)(3), organization, we rely on the generosity of individuals, organizations, clubs, churches, foundations, and corporations to help us meet our financial needs. In addition to the day-to-day operating costs, funding is also required for special projects and programs. Each project or program is designed to encourage, motivate, and support residents as they build their lives and become stable.

We are proud of our association with United Way and adhere to their restrictions and guidelines in raising funds for Room in the Inn.

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Some Success Stories


Ashley Bell

"For most of her life, self-hatred permeated every decision that Chattanooga resident Ashley Bell made.
'I've always been a bigger girl," she said. "I had been bullied pretty severely. When I was 12 my greatest fantasy was to not wake up in the morning.'"...Read More

The 25th Anniversary

The founder of Chattanooga Room in the Inn Christine Morrison with CRITI Executive Director Erin CrealIn 1988, following a study regarding the lack of bed availability for homeless women and children, Christine Morrison was called to help. Using the model of Nashville's Room in the Inn, Ms. Morrison spearheaded efforts to recruit church and volunteers to host the homeless guests. On August 31, 1988, Chattanooga Room in the Inn was formed.

Board members Amy Waters and Jody JacksonInitially, women and children were transported from Chattanooga Human Services, hosted overnight at the churches and provided a dinner and breakfast the following morning. While this got the guests off the street overnight, volunteers soon realized that without a place to go during the day, the women had little opportunity to obtain the stability necessary to become employed, or maintain employment. A day center called Bailey House was provided by the Hamilton County Democratic Party. It was here the guests could keep their belongings safe, wash laundry and bathe. Job training, health care and transportation were also available. Dr. Pope and Mary Holliday, representatives of First Centenary United Methodist Church, were instrumental in developing the services available.

Anniversary party participantsAmazingly, with several personnel changes, board member rotation and other homeless services available, Chattanooga Room in the Inn has evolved into what its founders were hoping it would become...a transitional housing program that provides services to help homeless women become self-sufficient.

On October 10, 2013, Chattanooga Room in the Inn celebrated their 25th Anniversary. Ms. Morrison and Mary Holliday attended along with former and current board members and long time volunteers.

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Our Staff

Sharon Collins
Coordinator of Volunteers

Erin Creal
Executive Director

Gail Peterson
Administrative Assistant

Janel Burnett
Child Advocate

Jessica Hooker
Program Coach

Casey Kendall
Case Manager

Program Shift Managers

Deborah Barnes

Bobbie Davis

Erica Mapp