Bradley County Executive Assistant Dr. Lindsay Hathcock on Monday night presented to the Bradley County Commission a report on Mayors Tom Rowland and D. Gary Davis’ coalition. Formally known as the Mayors’ Coalition on Care, the program was formed to help people connect with the various agencies and charities that already to assist people with their housing needs.
The coalition brings together a network of non-profit organizations in order to address the specific needs of the Cleveland/Bradley County area; homelessness and housing have been made their top priorities. Dr. Hathcock pointed out the seriousness of the homeless problem in Cleveland, and that, in reality, most people are just a few steps away from homelessness. Dr. Hathcock also discussed preliminary plans to either build a second homeless shelter or to add onto or enhance the shelter on Wildwood Avenue in Cleveland.
USDA representative Annabel Webb addressed the commission concerning affordable housing loans that are being made available through the USDA’s Rural Housing Home Loan Program. This program provides affordable, USDA financed mortgage and home repair loans. The loans are designated for low income households. Income limits for qualification are based on the number of people in each household. Ms. Webb explained the qualifications for a USDA home loan which included: a person or family must have an acceptable credit history, they must not currently own a home, and their income cannot exceed the low income level for their family size.
The commission also discussed the lack of Internet access in large areas of Bradley County. Dr. Hathcock said that he has received hundreds of emails concerning the matter and told of some hurdles that he came across in working with the Electric Power Board and Volunteer Electric Cooperative in order to find a solution.
Some of the commissioners expressed that the Internet problem was one that needed to be solved via private enterprise. Among them was Vice-Chairman Adam Lowe, “There is a big campaign within society right now as to whether or not Internet access should be made a public utility. When we start collaborating with certain companies, it does become local government picking and choosing winners,” he said.