Change reflects organization’s growing outreach
COOKEVILLE — The Cookeville Housing Authority, founded in 1952 to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for Cookeville-area residents, has changed its name to Highlands Residential Services (HRS) to reflect its growing outreach and service area.
While the organization’s core mission has always been to help area residents and families to find homes, the former Cookeville Housing Authority has grown in its nearly 60 years to offer a much wider variety of community-building services including job and skills training courses for adults, home-buyer classes in partnership with various local banks, quality childcare and events for children and adolescents, mentoring programs for elderly and disabled residents, block parties and other recreational and social activities for residents, and much more.
And while the organization originally served only Cookeville, it now supports and strengthens the residents of Algood, Baxter, Celina, Cookeville, Gainesboro and Monterey, which means that its reach extends across the Tennessee Highlands.
"At Highlands Residential Services, we are more than housing. We are building on community to make our neighborhoods, towns and our region stronger, and our new name and image reflect that," said C. Dow Harris, Highlands Residential Services executive director.
The organization’s new name and look denote not only its commitment to maintaining the foundation it has already laid, but also to building on that foundation. Over the past year, HRS staff members have spent time talking to hundreds of residents to learn how to better help our neighborhoods reach their full potential, and the organization commissioned surveys of residents and the local public to determine potential areas of improvement for its image and services.
“These changes underline our renewed commitment to helping our residents by opening doors to a new home and a new future, and we have already begun working toward making many of the improvements we discussed with our residents and discovered through our surveys,” said Harris.
"The residents in each of the towns we occupy deserve the highest level of commitment and treatment we can offer, and we’re dedicated to continuing that,” said Highlands Residential Services Board Chair Janey Dudney. “We operate throughout the Highlands, and we are proud of all of our communities."
Governed by a seven-member board of commissioners, Highlands Residential Services operates 660 public housing units, including 80 Section 8 units for the elderly and the disabled and a 30-unit low-income housing tax credit development for seniors. The units are designed to meet the region's needs and to help the region's residents get back on their feet through the programs HRS offers.
In addition to the programs mentioned above, HRS is especially proud of its Teens Need Training program, a series of after-school events and activities offering tutoring, community service and trips for resident teens through community partnerships with the Cookeville Police Department, the Cookeville Police Athletic League and Tennessee Tech University.
To learn more about Highlands Residential Services, call 526-9793.
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