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UCHRA Holds First Meeting Towards Grant Proposal Battling Poverty

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA Holds First Meeting Towards Grant Proposal Battling Poverty

A leadership group ready to change social services.

That is what UCHRA/UCDD Executive Director Mark Farley said was his main takeaway from last week’s kickoff meeting revisiting social services.

The meeting was the first over a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Opportunity Act Planning Grant the agency received.

“There is a frustration that we all feel right now,” Farley said. “We want to get people lifted up. Sometimes it seems like the system creates barriers to where it is hard for us to do that. Many times we go in different directions and not unified. Coming out of that meeting, I really felt the group is all of one mind, and it is time for us all to work together.”

The $445,000 grant funds efforts towards another grant proposal for $25 million over three years.

“Not just for the Human Resource Agancy but for the region as a whole. It would be a project that would allow us to be very innovative and try new ideas and bring different groups to the table and work together in ways that we usually don’t work together,” Farley said.

Workforce development, employers, nonprofit organizations and the faith community make up the task force with UCHRA serving as the backbone. Farley said establishing focus groups will be the next step in the process.

“”This was just step one,” Farley said. “We’ve got to have a lot of one-on-one conversations. We are planning on doing a lot of focus groups both with clients, participants, with employers and with different organizations that do this type of work just to get a feedback of what they’re seeing, what they’re needs are and how we can put a plan together moving forward.”

Farley said the agency has 90 days to prepare the application. Farley said he plans for another convening in March to share the plan with stakeholders.

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