Homelessness, mental health and child care among the most important issues to be tackled by the UCHRA Policy Council.
The newly structured group held its first meeting Wednesday. Regional elected officials originally formed the board. Now, 19 members that represent fields like utilities to law enforcement make up the council.
Chairman Randy Heady said he thinks the new council will be an improvement.
“We also get some really new members, which is awesome,” Heady said. “Y’all are bringing a different aspect to what this council is all about. I’m just really excited about what this is going to do for us.”
UCHRA Director Mark Farley said the diverse group represents each county and will serve more as a working group. Farley said council members will provide expertise on issues in their field to better guide the resource agency.
“What we want to do is take this opportunity and see how do we improve the region?,” Farley said. “How do we move those individuals in our community that are not as well off as the rest of us. How do we move them up the ladder.”
Farley said the council will work on getting children out of poverty, reducing homelessness and other issues.
“Having a policy council this diverse, we will be able to start those discussions of what needs to be done and how do we work better together,” Farley said.
Farley said each member has something to offer to the group. Farley said representatives for human services, aging populations, substance abuse, corrections and other areas make up the council
“Utilities obviously an area where we put a lot of resources again through our LIHEA Program,” Farley said. ‘We’ll have somebody from Public Housing that represents the cities and counties. (Cindy) Putman representing education, and Mr. (Darrin) Stout representing law enforcement. Then, we also have six people representing the providers.”
Farley said the ultimate goal is to make the people of the region stronger.