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Chattanooga City Council to Allocate More Funds for Public Safety and Eviction Prevention

City council meeting illustration

Chattanooga City Council to Allocate More Funds for Public Safety and Eviction Prevention

Additional Funds for Local Organizations

The Community Haven, a Chattanooga-based group dedicated to violence prevention, may soon receive an additional $750,000 from the city to bolster its efforts. Councilwoman Marvene Noel of Orchard Knob expressed her steadfast support of the additional funding during a recent city council meeting, detailing the positive feedback she has received from her constituents concerning the efficacy of The Community Haven’s initiatives.

She mentioned how residents highlighted the increased security they felt having the community’s patrolling vehicles around, a reflection that resonated with the council’s decision to boost the initiative. Notably, The Community Haven’s violence prevention mission, featuring community patrols and outreach efforts, was among the several projects funded in 2022 by Chattanooga’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Utilizing Federal Aid

The American Rescue Plan Act, a legislative measure released by the federal government in 2021, was aimed at cushioning the economy during the pandemic downturn. Chattanoogah, through the measure, received $38.6 million which was channeled towards local organizations and projects purposed to promote entrepreneurship, affordable housing, and public safety. According to Kevin Muhammad, the president of The Community Haven, the funding from the pandemic stimulus package has played a pivotal role in spurring their operations.

“What (the pandemic money) allowed us to do is say, ‘Hey wait a minute. We can make them more efficient. We can expand their reach.'”, Muhammad said during a recent interview. He further added that a significant number of the group’s assets were funded from the organization’s own pocket, thus underlining the impact of the pandemic relief funding.

Upcoming Investments

The city is set to consider new investments during the subsequent council meeting, with The Community Haven on the tentative list to receive another $750,000. Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise’s housing rehabilitation program and the AIM center’s supportive housing development initiative might also receive $500,000 each. Legal Aid of East Tennessee, known for spearheading an eviction prevention initiative, is anticipated to secure an additional $326,000.

Community Impact

The patrol program of The Community Haven got a significant boost from the city’s $1 million allocation in the previous year, leveraging the funding to proliferate its public safety initiatives in Bushtown by surveillance mapping and crime assessment. Beyond patrols, the organization also has engaged in a variety of community empowerment programs, including educational workshops, literacy programs, and summer camp activities offering life skills for students from Orchard Knob Middle School.

Kevin Muhammad also noted that the organization helped 50 young individuals to learn how to establish their own businesses, besides providing a substantial amount of free food produce for the community through their food program. “These are things that it is important to note that we were doing prior to (the American Rescue Plan Act) that we basically were funding out of our own pocket,” emphasized Muhammad.

The upcoming allocation of funds signifies Chattanooga’s commitment to local organizations aimed at enhancing public wellbeing and community development against the backdrop of the pandemic struggle.

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