Mayor Andy Berke on Friday released the names of the initial individuals he has asked to serve on his Veterans Task Force. This announcement comes a little over one month after he signed an executive order establishing a community coalition to eradicate chronic veteran homelessness by December 2016.
This task force is made up of veterans, community leaders, and service providers. The group will work to develop an action plan over the next year and monitor progress, it was stated.
The members of the Veterans Task Force include:
City Council Chairman Chip Henderson
John O’Rourke – Buffalo Valley Inc
Pat Townley – Spirit Horse for Veterans
Edwin Holmes – Veteran
Josh Roe – Veteran
Danny Jones – Veteran and Sgt in the Chattanooga Police Department
Theodore Young – Veteran Affairs
Beth Washburn – Veteran Affairs
Ray Adkins – Veteran
Steven Wright – Homeless Coalition
Donna Maddox – Johnson Mental Health Center
Todd Dockery – Veteran and Human Resources Director with the City of Chattanooga
Lee Norris – Veteran and Public Works Administrator with the City of Chattanooga
Janna Jahn – Hamilton County
Everlena Holmes – Glenwood Neighborhood Block Leader
Jens Christensen – Community Kitchen
David Denmark – MacClellan Foundation
BettyeLynn Smith - Housing Specialist
Carol Johnson – Chattanooga Housing Authority
Melissa Wilson – Mental Health Cooperative
Mary Ellen – Family Promise
Daniel Wagner – UTC Student Veterans Organization
Jordan Betbeze – UTC Student Veterans Organization
Chris Smith – Veteran and IS Specialist with the City of Chattanooga
Karen Guinn – Homeless Healthcare Center
According to Veteran Affairs, at any given time in Chattanooga there are about 150 veterans who are homeless and 20 percent who are chronically homeless. Due to the transient nature of this problem, it is likely that many more go uncounted, officials said.
“These men and women have served our country valiantly and it’s time we take care of the people who have fought so courageously for our freedom” said Mayor Berke.
Prior to announcing the creation of this task force, Mayor Berke and City Council Chairman Chip Henderson met with veterans on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga about the issues they faced both during service and since returning home.
“This is an issue around our country, but I know that Chattanooga can solve tough problems. I am confident we will be able to make a real difference for these brave men and women” said Chairman Henderson.