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Southwest Human Resource Agency.

Western and Central Tennessee, including the counties of Decatur, Chester, Hardin, Hardeman, Haywood, McNairy, Henderson, and Madison, are supported by Southwest Human Resource Agency. The non-profit is a leading organization for the less fortunate, seniors, and working poor.

While the demand for help is very high, the center will do its best to assist. They offer, or can direct residents to, everything from food to housing and energy bill assistance. Another focus is on case management and helping the less fortunate overcome poverty and any challenges they face. Some of the services offered by the Southwest Human Resource Agency include these.

Weatherization helps all low-income households that qualify in their efforts to bring down energy costs. It will also assist with upgrading their living standard by the installation of weatherization measures to their houses and make them more efficient. This Southwest HRA program is available both to the homeowners as well as local renters. The weatherization program is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

Housing and the Homeless Assistance Programs assist homeless families and individuals in Jackson City and counties such as Chester. A shelter facility is operated with other charities. There are also two houses used to give temporary shelter with an additional couple of off-site houses which are used for short term transitional housing. Basic services are offered too from staff. This can be like referrals, counseling on credit and budgeting and employment assistance.

For people behind on their rent, homeless prevention services are also offered to families who are facing the danger of eviction. In these cases help is provided in the shape of funds for paying rent. Potential applicants for this form of aid have to get in touch with the Homeless Shelter Office at 731-427-2147. Funding is done through an Emergency Shelter Grant and Community Development Block Grant from the federal government.

The elderly and disabled can use the Rural Public Transportation system. It was created to allow the community to gain benefit on needed rides. Crucial transportation services are being arranged to the rural areas of the state and Southwest Tennessee, including the nearby counties of Hardin and Madison. The rides can link the residents with their places of employment, physicians, grocery stores, dentists, and senior citizen centers. All medical and health related trips are also provided to cities such as Memphis, Jackson and Nashville.




The TennCare Bureau works with the non-profit on TennCare Transportation. The Human Resource Agency has to provide referrals to SWHRA Transportation prior to extending these services. For those that qualify, the bureau pays for all the trips to critical appointments. This can be the physicians, a pharmacy, the drug stores and to other medical service facilities. In some cases a fee is required from the rider.

Commodities and food resources provide services for distributing, receiving and storing USDA surplus groceries and canned goods to all eligible families. The commodities are distributed from Community Service Centers in each of the counties supported by HRA.

The Summer Food Service Program was created to make sure that children from working poor families get to receive nutritious meals when Tennessee schools are not in session. Free meals or snacks are provided to all children at approved SFSP sites, such as parks or churches. They are located in Hardin, Henderson, Hardeman, McNairy, and Madison, among other sites.

Everything served is tasked with meeting all Federal Nutrition guidelines. This program also operates during school vacations, mainly in the summer months. It is sponsored at the state level through the Tennessee Department of Human and is federally funded U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition.

LIHEAP, also known as Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, offers help with the payment of utility and heating bills to all families who are eligible. The total household income of the applicant family has to be within 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, however that can always change.

When grants or financial help is approved, a one-time payment is made to the specified utility account. Assistance is at most provided only once during a financial year from your local Community Service Center. The program is funded under an agreement with the federal government as well as State of Tennessee.

The LIHEAP program has two primary components. They are the regular and crisis assistance. Regular help is more common of th two. It is accepted on a quarterly basis and the applicants get notification of their eligibility for any cash assistance within a period of three months. The second option from Southwest Human Resource Agency, crisis help from LIHEAP, is available to all eligible families who are facing the danger of electricity disconnection or that are out of fuel. Services are provided on a fast track basis.

Another Food/Nutrition Program offers free nutritious meals five days of a week to those that qualify, such as seniors and the disabled. The meals are provided at dozens of sites. Regulations deem that every meal served has to contain at least one third of the current USDA daily Recommended Dietary Allowance that is also established by the Federal & Drug Administration.

The program also has other benefits as it focuses on the reduction of isolation of old age. So this is done as well as promoting better health through enhanced nutrition. An arrangement is done as well with Congregate Meals at senior citizen centers, churches, and other private or public charity facilities where some social services are offered.





Meals on Wheels is when volunteers from Southwest HRA deliver meals to the homes of eligible persons. It is required as there is a possibility that some elderly or disabled people may be confined to the homes. The most common causes are due to account of disability or illness.

Senior food assistance is offered as a multi-service program that serves elderly homebound and disabled people both at locations in the towns or at their homes. The overall objective is to increase independence and self-sufficiency among senior citizens and disabled in western Tennessee.

Other programs for seniors are available too. The Homemaker Program was created to meet the requirements of both aging and disabled persons who are facing difficulty with performing daily activities. The services offered include a vast range of needs such as personal care, housekeeping, home delivered meals, and respite care. General housekeeping services will include errands and laundry. Personal care is given to clients in the form of stand-by assistance. Also, staff offer help with dressing, bathing and grooming. Respite care is offered to all eligible full time clients as well.

Education and the Head Start Program of the Southwest Human Resource Agency - HRA helps in enhancing the growth of children. It addresses their development in preparation for later academic and social activities.

Many studies show that the preschool years are important in the lives of young children. The Head Start services include free dental, education, medical and nutritional health are offered for this very reason. Social services are also provided to parents. Children that qualify with a disability or special needs are concentrated upon as well. Parents of all students are involved in all aspects of the program and they are supported in their roles to their families.

Employment programs from Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a Southwest Human Resource Agency program that is federally funded. It is maybe the nation’s main job and training service which shows a new approach to workforce investment activities through both local and state of Tennessee systems.




Various authorized workforce investment activities at the local levels benefit people who are seeking jobs or new skills. WIA and the staff will also help dislocated workers, the unemployed, incumbent workers, veterans and residents with disabilities. It helps with arranging an increase in local employment, improved retention of jobs and more. It can also address consistent earnings and attainment of occupational skills among participants. The quality of the central and western TN workforce is improved and it also reduces welfare dependency.

Locations of Southwest HRA centers

Chester County Community Service Center, 269 North Church Street, Henderson, Tennessee 38340, 989-3879.
Decatur County, 2039 Highway 641 South, Parsons, Tennessee 38363, phone 847-8160.
Hardeman County Community Service Center is based at 602-A, Tennessee Street, Bolivar, Tennessee 38008. Phone 658-9292.
Hardin County, 885 Pickwick Road, Savannah, Tennessee 38372, phone 925-5405.
Haywood County Community Service Center - 140 South Wilson Street, Brownsville, Tennessee 38012, telephone 772-2644.
Henderson County Community Service Center, 145 South Main Street, Lexington, Tennessee
38351. Call 968-6802.
Madison County, 1124 Whitehall Street, Suite 201A, Jackson, Tennessee 38301. Main phone - 423-8768.
McNairy County Community Service Center, 145 South Y Square, Selmer, Tennessee 38375, 645-5739.

By Jon McNamara

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