This year the program was put out for bid. Having won the bid, The Caring Place, a local service organization, will be coordinating funding this year.
“We want to maintain some separateness (for the two programs),” said Reba Terry in a talk at Monday’s Cleveland Interagency Council luncheon at the Bradley County Health Department.
Terry is director of The Caring Place, just off Wildwood Avenue, and will be program director for the new Neighbors in Need Program. This new agency is located in the old Blythe Avenue School building (Suite 2) which operates as the Family Support Center.
Case manager for Neighbors in Need will be Shady Hernandez.
Terry emphasized that the new “Neighbors in Need — Empowering Lives” program will address the financial needs of the disadvantaged in Bradley County, but it won’t be the same program as it was in the past.
“Our goal is to begin to break the cycle of poverty by linking participants with local service organizations that provide enrichment (empowerment) opportunities,” Terry said. “Asking for something for nothing is not going to work.”
Terry explained each participant’s financial needs will be assessed and followed by a professional case manager. The case manager will work with community agencies, church partners and most importantly the participant as they move forward to resolve the crisis.
Financial assistance will be provided for rent, mortgage payments, and utilities with past due or cutoff notices.
Each participant will sign an agreement for empowerment opportunities, which may include:
Mental health counseling, money management classes, credit counseling/debt reduction, averting bankruptcy, parenting skills classes, nutrition/food preparation classes, general equivalency degree preparation, knowledge of the legal system, job readiness classes, job search classes, job training, and substance abuse training.
Participants are also required to have a photo ID; Social Security card; proof of address for each adult; proof of assistance such as food stamps, child support and Families First; and proof of income such as pay stubs, tax statements, verification from employers, and Supplemental Security Income and Social Security verification.
For more information about Neighbors in Need and eligibility for the program, you can call 472-0769.
Funding for the agency will be provided by the Bradley County United Way.
“Everything must be documented, and we’re going to be very careful about all types of things,” said Terry. “Shady will be working with each client case by case.
“This is not a strict giveaway,” the program developer continued. “Clients will be asked to take on some accountability. We may ask for proof of their job hunting, and every case will be evaluated separately. We will set up a plan to resolve each situation.”
The program has already been launched, with Hernandez evaluating some early cases.
Other agency notes:
n Bradley County Health Department Director Eloise Waters announced that Robin Allen is leaving the department and is being replaced by former employee Roxanne Wooten. Wooten will be a nursing supervisor in the community.
n Special “Dining with Diabetes” classes are scheduled at the Bradley County extension building at 95 Church St. The four two-hour sessions (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) will be held April 17, 24 and May 1 and 8. The cost is $30 per session and $15 for an additional person. You can make reservations by calling 728-7001.
n GRAAB’s Joyce Vanderpool announced that the DEA’s Take-Back Drugs campaign is scheduled for the last week of the month at the Bradley County Justice Center.
n The Community Advisory Board held a brief meeting following the Interagency luncheon and voted to meet quarterly instead of each month.
The CAB is also planning to partner with Cleveland State Community College’s Service Learning Department for an Expo in September. Tentative Service Learning volunteers can visit a number of booths at the Expo.