Tennessee’s Statewide Council On Homelessness Reconvenes

Monday, January 11, 2016
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ Commissioner E. Douglas Varney, by the authority of Governor Bill Haslam, is reconstituting the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, with the aim of not just reducing but eliminating homelessness among veterans, the chronically homeless, families, and children.

“When he was mayor of Knoxville, Bill Haslam realized the high cost and impact homelessness has on neighborhoods, communities, governments and entire cities and regions,” said Comm.
Varney. “He saw the need and addressed it. Governor Haslam realized it takes a coordinated effort to bring about change, both in policy and how we perceive individuals who struggle with homelessness.”

Officials said the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness will coordinate Tennessee’s efforts, and identify, develop, and ensure sustained partnerships among supporting agencies, service providers, and those who advocate for people experiencing homelessness.

The Statewide Council on Homelessness will focus on addressing challenges in partnership with other local, state, and federal organizations. The council may include representatives deemed necessary by Commissioner Varney, including, but not limited to, representatives of the following:

·        Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

·        TennCare – Tennessee Healthcare Finance Administration

·        Tennessee Department of Health

·        Tennessee Department of Veterans Services

·        Tennessee Housing Development Agency

·        Shelby County Government

·        Metro Nashville-Davidson County Government

·        Persons who have experienced homelessness, in recovery from serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occuring substance use and mental health issues

·        (SSI) Supplemental Security Income and (SSDI) Social Security Disability Income  Outreach, Access, and Recovery

·        Community-based, CABHI service providers (Cooperative Agreement to Benefit Homeless Individuals) 

·        U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

·        Governor’s designee, to be selected by the Governor

“The challenges we face with homelessness in Tennessee affects us all,” said Comm. Varney. “Our chronically homeless, veterans, families, and especially children deserve a coordinated statewide and community-based effort.” 

Strategic and time-sensitive goals have been established to address and solve homelessness among the three primary target populations in Tennessee with the objective to effectively ending homelessness among the most vulnerable citizens in Tennessee by 2020.

“If we do nothing, the end result is a very high price,” said Comm. Varney. “Many homeless cost studies show that there is a savings to governments and communities that invest in providing the right blend of support and services to individuals who are experiencing homelessness and chronic homelessness.”

As homelessness will never be completely eliminated in Tennessee, representatives of the reconstituted Statewide Council on Homelessness are confident, with established support services in place, no one will be homeless longer than 30 days.

“Securing housing, temporary supplemental income, Social Security benefits, employment, treatment for mental health and substance use, and other social services is a part of the plan and will result in cost savings,” said Comm. Varney. “When you consider the alternative and expense of doing nothing, not to mention human suffering, this is a logical, economical and most of all a compassionate approach.”

The council will make an annual progress report to the Governor at the end of each fiscal year and shall exist for as long as resources are available, as determined by Commissioner Varney in consultation with the Governor.

CHI Memorial Medical Group Hires Gynecologist Emily Evitt, M.D.

CHI Memorial Medical Group announces Emily Evitt, M.D., has joined CHI Memorial Women’s Health Associates.  Dr. Evitt received her medical degree from University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.  She completed an internship and residency at Atlanta Medicine Center.  Dr. Evitt is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is ... (click for more)

Alexander Says “Black Box” On Health Care Costs Makes It Hard For Americans To Be Smart Consumers

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander on Tuesday said, “the cost of health care has remained in a black box.”   He said, “Secretary Azar recently told the story of his doctor ordering a routine echo cardio stress test. He was sent down the street and admitted to the hospital, where, after considerable effort on his part, he learned the test would ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Man And His Sister Arrested In 2015 Murder Of Timothy Stewart

Detectives with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office have made arrests in the October 2015 murder of 33-year-old Timothy Brian Stewart, which occurred in the  200 block of Layne Road, Soddy Daisy. On Tuesday, detectives charged Randy Layne, 35, with criminal homicide. Also, Randy Layne’s sister, Kattie Lynn Layne, 32, is charged with abuse of a corpse and criminal ... (click for more)

Fire Causes $250,000 In Damage To Home On Signal Mountain

Fire damaged a home on Signal Mountain late Tuesday night. At  11:18 p.m., firefighters from Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services (WRES) responded to a house fire on 5011 Anderson Pike. When the first engine arrived on the scene, they reported two vehicles and a portion of the house were on fire. WRES immediately requested a mutual aid response for supporting fire ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (2)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Is This ‘New Voice’?

It’s easy for me to say that I either know, or know about, almost every person running in November for the state legislature. Yet when I describe Lemon Williams as the most exciting of the bunch, that’s because he's the only guy I had never heard of when he picked up his qualifying papers. He just turned out the best political aspirant I have had a conversation with in the last ... (click for more)