By Charlotte Underwood

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Community Health of East Tennessee (CHET) received a $385,735 Housing Trust Fund grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency on Thursday afternoon. The funds will be used to rebuild seven housing units destroyed by the flood two years ago. The apartment units serve victims of domestic abuse. 

State Senator Ken Yager attended the check presentation on Thursday. Yager sponsored the bill which led to the grant and helped secure the much-needed grant funding.

Katie Moore with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency came to Campbell County to present the check to CHET CEO Teresa Dabney, CHET staff and board members. 

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency does housing across the whole state and is considered the state’s housing financing agency. 

The grant funds for the Housing Trust Fund come from the interest off of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s mortgage program. 

The agency is overseen by Senator Yager and his colleagues in the general assembly.  Yager carried the legislature to keep the mortgage program/housing trust fund continuing to function, according to Moore. 

“Our mortgage program helps thousands of low and moderate income Tennesseans across the state and also allows us to put about $15 million or more annually back into Tennessee communities,” Moore said. Grant funds are generated off of the interest of the mortgage program. The interest goes towards grants across the state.

Yager said he was glad to be a part of the program which would lead to the restoration of the seven CHET units damaged in the flood here in Campbell County, as well as other projects across the state.

“This is so important to restore these homes that were damaged in the flood and I’m so pleased we are able to do this. I’m a strong supporter of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and their programs. They help those who are not in a position to help themselves and it’s my personal belief that’s what government is supposed to do, help those who can’t help themselves,” Yager said. 

CHET CEO Teresa Dabney said she and everyone at CHET were thrilled and honored with the grant. Once repairs are made, CHET can once again offer temporary housing to victims of domestic abuse. The units will house seven families for up to 12 to 24 months at a time.

“Being a non profit, we didn’t have the money it was going to take to do the repairs, so we’re very happy. It will help us get back to doing that important service,” Dabney said. She said CHET was honored to be chosen to receive the funds amongst all the others that applied since the grant process is very competitive.

Dabney also said she wanted to thank the community for stepping up when the flood happened in 2019. Through the community’s help and efforts CHET was able to get the seven families into temporary and then more permanent housing when the flood hit and homes were damaged.

“I was overcome and overwhelmed by the community support. I didn’t realize how much the community cared about what we did, but we had so many individual calls of people wanting to help. There’s been a whole community effort of helping one another,” Dabney said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/16/2021-6AM)