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The mayor of Little Rock intends to use his new role as city leader to solve homelessness



Little Rock, Arkansas – The new city manager of Little Rock will manage the city’s homeless population.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. declared last week during his yearly “State of the City” address that he planned to implement a comprehensive housing campaign to end homelessness. He claimed that as soon as the city hires a chief homeless officer, everything will change. According to Scott, this is the state’s first job of its sort.

“This particular person is going to connect the dots and find more solutions to help us get to functional zero, to lead the effort of the microhome village,” Scott said.

According to Scott, the American Rescue Plan is providing funding for the community to build 200 homes. According to him, those government monies will facilitate the move from homelessness to long-term housing.

“The true way to get to functional zero is to have permanent housing and affordable housing,” he said. “We believe the city of Little Rock has to step up to the plate to provide permanent housing, in particular workforce housing and affordable housing as we go into the future for this city and the state of Arkansas.”

The chief homeless officer, according to Scott, will be the main motivator behind providing the homeless community with numerous forms of assistance as well as affordable housing.

“To figure out how do we bring the private sector together to create public-private partnerships as it relates to existing landlords, owners and what they do as it relates to any vacancies that they may have,” he said.

Derek Jones, executive director of Union Rescue Mission, stated that affordable housing is a fantastic concept. That is just one important component of the puzzle, he noted, and there are others.

“Homelessness being such a complex issue, we also have to address the substance use disorder that are so often prevalent amongst the homeless population,” Jones said. “We have to address the mental health issues amongst the homeless population.”

If those fundamental concerns are not addressed, Jones expressed concern that those who are granted permanent housing may not be able to maintain their residency.

Scott stated that a housing program will be unveiled later this year. According to him, their prior 100-home project is virtually finished. According to Scott, it is critical to address the homeless issue since every resident needs a solution.

“This is something that’s been going on well before me and we want to make certain that it doesn’t go well after me. When you’re in a position you must act,” Scott said.

Scott states that before the end of April, they hope to appoint a chief homeless officer.


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