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Grants Awarded to Help Create Rental Housing for People with Mental Health Issues in Counties Hit by 2008 Tornadoes

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | 11:38am

NASHVILLE – On Feb. 5-6, 2008, a series of tornadoes crossed the state from Memphis through the Jackson area and then to the Nashville area and beyond. Straight-line winds and floods associated with the systems also caused damage and deaths across the state. On Feb. 7, President George W. Bush declared the event a disaster and eventually 16 counties were designated as disaster areas: Benton, Fayette, Fentress, Hardin, Haywood, Hickman, Houston, Lewis, Macon, Madison, McNairy, Perry, Shelby, Sumner, Trousdale and Williamson counties.

Since March 1, 2013, community organizations have worked with housing facilitators funded through the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Creating Homes Initiative (CHI) to write and get Community Development Block Grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) that would help replace houses in communities affected by the 2008 tornadoes.

Of the seven total grants that were distributed, four of them were for CHI-affiliated projects in which the new rental houses will be available to people with mental health issues or co-occurring disorders (which describe a person as having at least one mental health issue along with a substance use disorder co-occurring at the same time). Those four CHI-affiliated projects are:

  • The North Memphis Community Development Corporation (NMCDC) received $109,148 for the rehabilitation of four (4) rental units in Shelby County. The NMCDC will rehabilitate single-family properties donated by Bank of America and a local nonprofit organization, Alpha Omega Veterans Services, Inc.
  • The Southwest Tennessee Community Development Corporation received $1,122,608 for the development of 13 rental housing units. The funds will be used to rehab 4 homeless shelters in Madison County, build two duplexes (4 units) in McNairy County, build two duplexes (4 units) in Hardin County, and build one single-family dwelling in Hardin County.
  • Buffalo Valley received a $1 million grant to build 10 single family houses, five in Hickman County and five in Lewis County.
  • Community Action Network, Inc., got a $750,000 grant to acquire foreclosed homes, rehab them, and transform them into 10 rental units in Benton and Houston counties.

CHI was founded in 2000 to create and expand affordable, safe, permanent, and quality housing options in local communities for people with mental illness in Tennessee. The original goal of this initiative was to create 2,005 new or improved permanent housing options for Tennesseans with mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders by the year 2005. That goal was achieved in the fall of 2002, and a new goal of 4,010 by 2005 was developed. That goal was reached, and now the ongoing goal is to create 500 new or improved permanent housing options each year. Since CHI began, it has created more than 8,800 housing opportunities by leveraging more than $379 million. For more information, go online to http://tn.gov/mental/recovery/CHIpage.html.

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