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City-county join forces with federal funds to address homelessness

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 1/28/22

Local government leaders have officially presented $1.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) to two organizations dedicated to affordable housing.

Cleveland city and Bradley County leaders gathered Thursday afternoon to officially present funding to City Fields and Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland.

The Bradley County Commission and Cleveland City Council each allocated $400,000 to City Fields to continue its efforts to rebuild or remodel 10 houses in the Blythe-Oldfield community, and $300,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland for 16 new homes in the Morelock Meadows subdivision.

The check presentation took place at Avery Johnson Park, which was named in Cleveland Vice Mayor Avery Johnson's honor last year.

"We've got a lot of people in the community who are doing a lot [to help others]," Johnson said.

Noting the cooperative effort between the city and county to equally fund City Fields and Habitat for Humanity, Johnson said, "We're really going to do something good here."

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis agreed, calling the use of ARP funds "an important step in addressing the housing issue facing Cleveland and Bradley County" and "a transformational investment being made in our community."

"This is another perfect example of what is possible when the city and county come together for a common goal," Davis said. "When my office approached the city about partnering together, we did so knowing that our impact in the community would be strengthened by working together."

He thanked City Manager Joe Fivas, Mayor Kevin Brooks, Johnson, and the Cleveland City Council for partnering with the county on funding affordable housing.

"I am thrilled with our other partners, these two organizations," he said. "Both of them have a track record of results when it comes to what they do, and I am confident this money will be put to its best use in the community.

"This investment helps to address a portion of the challenge, which is providing more affordable housing, but it doesn't go far enough to address the other side of the coin, which is available housing," Davis said.

"We have an opportunity, both the city and the county, to continue working together to create an environment that produces the necessary development and growth we need for the future," he added. 

Davis said millions more state and federal dollars "are flowing into Cleveland and Bradley County that will allow us to address our infrastructure needs" of sewer, water, broadband, "which in turn will help us address the issues of providing more affordable and available housing."

"Thank you to the City of Cleveland for meeting us in the middle on this project," Davis said. "As Bradley County Mayor I will continue to offer my hand of cooperation. The partnership and vision between the City of Cleveland and Bradley County is responsible for the strength of our community today, and continuing that cooperation is the only way we can move forward in addressing the challenges of tomorrow."

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