DUNLAP, Tenn., Jul 13, 2011 -- "Too many rural Americans face the nightmares of homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, re-entering society after incarceration or trying to get back on their feet after a divorce," according to Serenity Pointe Co-founder Debbie Morrison. But in Southeast Tennessee, her non-profit organization helps families and individuals who need "Shelter from the storms of life."
On Tuesday, Debbie and her husband and Shelter Co-founder Gerald Morrison welcomed USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode to announce federal financing that puts Serenity Pointe on a firm financial footing and makes it possible to expand services for victims of domestic violence.
"Everyone should have a place to turn for help in times of need, especially women and children," said Goode. "Serenity Pointe is proof that people in rural communities are capable of helping their each other meet their own needs. I'm glad USDA Rural Development affordable financing can help them expand services and invest in the future of this region."
According to Morrison the $532,000 low interest loan and $28,000 in local contributions will fund the purchase and renovation of the building at 15507 Rankin Avenue. Part of the building is currently being leased as the organization's thrift store.
In addition to the store, the renovated facility will provide a training room, child care area, classrooms and offices, all under one roof. Other improvements include more energy efficient heating and air conditioning, better insulation, electrical upgrades and the full compliance with state and federal accessibility requirements.
Founded in 2008, the non-profit's service area includes Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rhea, and Sequatchie Counties. For information about how to get help for yourself or someone you know, call Serenity Pointe at 423-949-7068. For emergencies call 911.
Rural Development community programs finance construction or improvements to essential services like reliable access to clean water, wastewater treatment, healthcare, education, job training, first responders and emergency facilities. Loan-guarantees encourage private lenders to expand the availability of affordable financing in rural communities. Direct loans and grants create sound financial opportunities for local governments to meet essential infrastructure needs.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Representative Evan Freeman, Rep. Scott DesJarlias’ Representative Greg Ridley, USDA RD Chattanooga Area Director David Collett and staff Clay Copeland, Alisa Farmer and Jayme Meeks.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, businesses, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 1.5 million rural Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.06 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in southeast Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Chattanooga at 423-756-2239 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1492 or online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA,
Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410,
or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.