Mayor Berke Names Task Force Members For Effort To End Veteran Homelessness

Friday, June 6, 2014

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.

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