Cookeville City Council approved a new UCHRA and Substance Abuse Solutions contract, adding $5,000 to its fund.
The program provides social services to individuals in need located in the city, including housing support, counseling, and medical and mental health care. Police Chief Randy Evans told council members the contract provided the department with a service it never had before.
“We never had that 24/7 coverage,” Evans said. “So obviously we’re very, very pleased with the service we’re getting so that’s why I once again placed it in the budget that you approved this year.”
Council originally entered a contract in September of 2020, and has extended it each year since. Evans said the police department has been receiving fewer calls thanks to SAS Housing Program Manager Luke Eldridge’s preemptive efforts.
Since the city partnered with UCHRA through this program, they’ve helped more than 200 clients. Eldridge said he expects that number to grow given the current housing market. He said that the funding from city council pays directly for an individual to provide these services, and that any future additional funding would go to individuals in need.
“You’re always going to have homeless I think that’s always going to be something we’re dealing with but that can help us with that transitional piece to get people further along,” Eldridge said. “And that’s the biggest key I think we need. We need to look at doing something transitionally doing funding that way. Mroe money is always a blessing, but you have some individuals who if you try to help them theyre just not ready.”