History of H3ARC
In 1996 Mayor Joe B Jackson contacted several agencies who worked with the homeless population regarding issues the community was having. Room in the Inn Director, Christine Huddleston chaired the group. Jim Hargrove, Cliff Sharp, Patsy Noland, Deborah Johnson along with area pastors were part of this initial group. In 1999, Mayor Richard Reeves formally assembled the Mayor’s Homeless Task Force to bring together a group of organizations and citizens interested in addressing the problem of homelessness in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Many of those original organizations are still members today. In June 2005, following a meeting in December 2004 with Philip Mangano, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Mayor Tommy Bragg appointed a Task Force to develop Murfreesboro’s 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. The task force consisted of representatives from the public and private sectors, advocates for the homeless, members of the faith-based community, and government officials. In addition, representatives of the homeless community attended the meeting of the task force.
The goals were:
- Identify stakeholders,
- Gather data on homelessness,
- Convene in work groups,
- Review research and noted best-practices, and
- Develop strategies to address the problem.
The Strategic Framework for Ending Homelessness in Murfreesboro is the result of the dedication and commitment of the task force members to address the key issues associated with the complexities of homelessness. A Continuum of Care agency was needed due to existing resource silos, duplication of many services and the scarcity of other vital services. In 2012, the leadership voted to form a local organization to administer the CoC. The local HUD Continuum of Care received grants under the oversight of Murfreesboro Housing Authority and the City of Murfreesboro.
Mayor Tommy Bragg organized a new Task Force with the purpose of developing a formal organization. Scott Foster (Journey Home), John Callow (City of Murfreesboro) and Brian Hercules (United Way) met to draw up By Laws and Charter. They were filed with the State in September of 2012.
During 2012, the city expressed interest in acquiring the former Murfreesboro Medical Clinic (now headquarters for the Murfreesboro Police Department). One of the primary ideas for the site was to create a "one-stop-shop" for several of the community's agencies that served the disadvantaged, in addition to working with a mental health service provider to offer services at the site. Many of those contacted were United Way agencies, as United Way was interested in the one-stop or campus concept as well. During the process, the city recognized that there was not an existing vehicle to organize, coordinate and manage such a concept. Mayor Bragg requested the Homeless Task Force to become better organized to create a vehicle or mechanism to undertake larger scale, collaborative community efforts to assist members of the community who were struggling.
In January of 2013 a city-wide meeting was called to formally organize an entity apart from the City or MHA to manage and administer the CoC. An executive committee was elected by the general membership and from it officers were elected. Permanent seats were given to the City, since they administrated the funds and MHA, since they had oversight for Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The chair of the Consumer Council was also given a permanent seat. Working groups were set up with a member of the executive committee chairing each group. Scott Foster of Journey Home was chosen Chairman. A permanent seat for the Mayor of Rutherford County or designee on the Executive Committee was adopted in April 2017.
An application was filed with the IRS in January of 2015 for non-profit status. The 501(c)3 was issued March 5, 2015 to the Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Homeless Task Force, dba Homeless Alliance of Rutherford County (HARC).
As our community grew, including the complex challenges facing many of our citizens, the role of HARC began to evolve. Many of the issues for the homeless population such as housing instability, mental health, substance abuse, employment, education, transportation, legal services were the same issues facing the reentry population from incarceration and recovery courts. It was recognized that this organization needed to address the overlapping problems of both of these vulnerable populations. An update to our vision and mission included a name change to reflect our goals. Housing, Health and Human Services Alliance of Rutherford County, H3ARC, was adopted to address the wide range of supportive services and community wide effort necessary for all citizens to reach their full potential.