Mission In My Words
As the Volunteer State, Tennessee’s history is filled with stories of independence and service. So it comes as no surprise that Tennesseans are some of the most generous in the United States. In August 2012, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Tennessee fourth in the country in charitable giving.
One of state government’s primary responsibilities is to care for Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens, but it isn’t something government can do alone. Organizations such as Nashville Rescue Mission play a critical role in providing support to those that government may struggle to reach.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are nearly 9,500 people without a place to live in Tennessee. With financial support and volunteer resources from individuals, businesses and foundations, Nashville Rescue Mission provides approximately 650,000 meals each year, around 275,000 nights of safe sleep for some of the less fortunate in Nashville and a life-recovery program that helps men and women overcome addictions.
When working to tackle a difficult issue such as homelessness, I believe that solutions are best found at the local level where communities can focus resources in an efficient and effective way.
During my time as Knoxville’s mayor, we had a strategy of “housing first,” an effort to make more permanent supporting housing available. We stressed better record keeping, making sure we were staying in touch with the homeless in our community and getting them the resources they needed. We worked for more effective coordination among service providers and to reduce duplicative services, and we also sought to more effectively engage the faith community in tackling this issue.
This last point brings to mind the good work of Nashville Rescue Mission, which has been offering services for nearly 60 years. In Tennessee we’re focused on solving the problems before us. As a state with a historic volunteer spirit, it isn’t surprising that the Mission has had success and continues to achieve as it tackles the issue of homelessness.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Haslam was elected Mayor of Knoxville in 2003 and was reelected in 2007. On November 2, 2010, Bill was elected Governor of Tennessee—securing the largest victory of any non-incumbent gubernatorial candidate in the state’s history. http://www.tn.gov/governor/