UPPER CUMBERLAND – Empower Upper Cumberland is now accepting applications for the program. Applications can be filled out at www.empoweruppercumberland.org or by calling 1-833-EMPWRUC.
Through community and collaborative partnerships, Empower UC is designed to lift children and families out of generational poverty by working together. This collaboration focuses heavily on developing interagency coordination so that not only families of our region have more aligned services, but the staff administering the programs have a clear understanding of the services available as well, including universal onboarding that will provide new members of the collaborative with information about the services provided and the structure of the continuum of care and poverty alleviation system.
In order to be eligible, the household must have a child in the home, be considered a low-income family, and cannot be considered “in crisis” at the time of applying. Once a family completes the application and begins the enrollment process, they will be randomly assigned into one of two service groups. Empower UC is part of a study funded by the Tennessee Department of Human Services which is being conducted to determine how these pilot programs help people improve their economic well-being. During the study, all new eligible applicants will be randomly selected into one of two groups that receive a different mix of program services “It is completely random, it is not based on the way they answer certain questions or anything like that,” said Megan Spurgeon, Director of Empower Upper Cumberland.
In December 2021, the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) received a $445,000 TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, planning grant to work with state leadership, the Families First Community Advisory Board, the Tennessee Department of Human Services, research partners, and professionals, and collaborations of community partners that see firsthand the challenges that vulnerable Tennesseans face.
In May 2022, the Upper Cumberland collaborative aimed at alleviating poverty in the region – Empower Upper Cumberland – was been selected to receive $25 million in TANF Opportunity Act funds to implement its plan. This project is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee Department of Human Services.
Forged from the collective, region-wide mission to lift children and families out of generational poverty, Empower Upper Cumberland – also known as Empower UC – is comprised of key community and regional partners. Led by Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA), the designated backbone organization, Empower UC is tasked with serving the most vulnerable populations of the 14-county Upper Cumberland region with a core objective of lifting 1,600 children and their families out of generational poverty by 2025.