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State Program Has UC Reevaluating Service Delivery To Those In Need

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
State Program Has UC Reevaluating Service Delivery To Those In Need

Tennessee has launched an Opportunity Pilot Initiative in an attempt to transform how services are delivered to vulnerable populations.

UCHRA and UCDD Director Mark Farley said this is the first time, in a long time the state wants to examine how resources reach people. Farley said the time is right for change in the Upper Cumberland.

He said there is disconnect in the local economy, employers cant find workers while more people need assistance than ever.

“What we’re doing today isn’t moving people in the right direction,” Farley said. “So what we’re hoping this will allow us to do is turn the system around to where we’re listening to the person that needs the help. What is it that they are facing in their life? What barriers are they encountering?”

Farley said that over the years a system was developed where UCHRA just checks boxes when someone gets connected to a service. He said feeling like the job is done but it was not.

Farley said the region is going to submit an application for the first phase of this program to receive a $500,000 planning grant.

He said this is a collaborative effort, having reached out to Tennessee Tech, The Cookeville Regional Hospital Foundation and Upper Cumberland School Systems.

“For the first time many of our agencies will be judged on how many people we moved out of property and that’s something that’s never been looked at,” Hayes said. “The way these are designed, you have to form a collaborative effort. So we’ve already had initial meetings, not only with both of our agencies but with many of the regional partners.”

Farley said that a third party will be used by the state to look at what works and what doesn’t work. He said this will take place over three years, with the collaboration hopefully creating economic success.

Farley said receiving the phase one planning grant will lay the foundation of a new service system.

“That will allow us to do a lot of groundwork of preparing a new system that we would like to try here in the Upper Cumberland,” Farley said. “Then hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to apply for one of the pilot grants that will be coming the first of next year. There will be two in each grand division across the state of Tennessee. We’re hoping that the Upper Cumberland will be the recipient of one of those.”

Farley said the deadline to apply for the phase one grant is September 30. He said that application is being drafted now, then it is a game of wait and see, whether the region’s application is accepted.

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