Millions coming to Memphis, Shelby County to fund community projects

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Those who work with the growing homeless population in Memphis and Shelby County now have more help to get the unhoused back on their feet and into society.

Federal lawmakers requested direct appropriations from Congress to give to agencies in their communities. Shelby County’s longtime Congressman Steven Cohen picked projects he feels very strongly about and groups that he said have shown good stewardship of their funding and resources.

“So this is something worthy of celebrating and I appreciate each of you being here with me,” Rep. Cohen told the crowd gathered at the federal building in downtown Memphis on Thursday, May 5 for the unveiling of the check.

He announced more than $11.7 million dollars in funding for 10 Shelby County groups, many of which serve the homeless.

“We have to help the homeless. They are among us. They are humans. They need care and help,” said Cohen.

$450,000 dollars went to Sadie B’s Kitchen at The Hospitality Hub to build a commercial kitchen in the shelter and provide food trucks.

“The homeless have lost hope. They’ve lost hope in God, in themselves, in the government, in the community, in the family,” Joy “Mother Wit” Scott of Feeding All Ministries told the congressman, “it’s not enough just to give them a place to stay. It’s good, but they need to be fed not only food for the body, but food for the spirit and the soul.”

More than one million dollars was awarded to Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital to provide the first recuperative care center in the Mid-South for medically fragile homeless.

“We have holistic care 24 hours,” said Bishop Henry Williamson, presiding prelate of the First Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, “so they can get back on their feet, into homes, into jobs and able to be productive citizens.”

$671,000 went to the Cocaine and Alcohol Awareness Program, Incorporated Community Corrections Program to support community-based, residential alternatives to incarceration.

$400,000 was given to a Christian Brothers University program that provides educational and job opportunities for Orange Mound and Binghampton residents.

$350,000 will be invested in the Church Health Center to expand their computer system, install a new phone system and build a playscape for children at Crosstown Concourse.

And Regional One Medical Center received $1 million to buy new equipment.

The Historic Melrose Redevelopment Project received $3 million to help rehab the old Melrose High into a world class library and community center.

“It’s an answer to our prayers,” said Orange Mound advocate and historian Mary Mitchell, “so thank you, thank you, thank you!”

$750,000 will help the Memphis Restart Initiative develop programs to train black entrepreneurs and business owners.

And Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Memphis Home Repair program for low-income seniors received $1 million.

“It’s critical to have a decent, safe home to live in,” said LISC Executive Director Kathy Cowan, “and this is also important because owning a good home is a wealth building strategy for families.”

At the end of the day, Rep. Cohen provided more than 11 million new reasons to be hopeful in Memphis and Shelby County.

“It should improve attitude,” said Memphis City Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson, “and with a change of attitude and hope in the community , change will occur. I believe there will be a difference.”

The final award: $3 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make improvements to Tom Lee Park which is undergoing a $60 million renovation right now.

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