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Selected NOAH Accomplishments 2016-2021
- June 2021: On June 1, at a Metro Council Public Hearing on the budget, the Metro Council adopted a Substitute Budget with additional services. Both budgets had significant “WINS” for NOAH, whose leaders had engaged with the council through many emails and phone calls.
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING
- $22.5 million for the Barnes Fund ($12.5 million local and $10 million federal)
- $500,000 for a long-term Metro Nashville housing plan.
- Two full-time housing experts added to Metro Planning Department.
$3.7 million to create Advocacy Centers in 72 elementary schools! For the first time, local funding was allocated to MNPS to use on Social Emotional Learning (SEL). This down payment on what is needed shifts our schools from using punitive discipline practices that perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline to a school system that understands and meets the needs of the whole child. With this new funding, every elementary school will be equipped with an advocacy center – a place in the building where a trained teacher will support students to learn social skills, use calming strategies, and solve social conflict appropriately when it arises.
- CRIMINAL JUSTICE
NOAH leaders developed a comprehensive program called HEALS to answer mental health calls with mental health workers instead of police. NOAH then engaged champions on Metro Council and allies in the community in pushing for the HEALS program. However, a “co-response” model was adopted, with police and mental health workers answering such calls together.
There is a need for BOTH of these programs — and NOAH has laid a solid foundation for having HEALS implemented in the 2022 Metro budget.
- October 2020: Over 700 people joined in NOAH’s virtual Public Meeting, entitled “The Fierce Urgency of Now!” Mayor John Cooper and representatives of Metro Police, Metro Schools, and Metro Council committed to work with us on our key issues. Two candidates
for state legislature also pledged to work with our organization. Additionally, NOAH pressed Mayor Cooper at our virtual public meeting to reimagine the criminal justice and education systems, with a focus on mental health.
- July-August 2020: NOAH’s Affordable Housing Task Force pressured a Mayor’s committee and the Metro Council to use federal CARES Act funding for rental assistance and for those affected by the COVID-19 economic crisis. An initial commitment of $10 million was made
for rental assistance, mortgage help, and emergency support.
- June-July 2020: NOAH held 4 powerful Candidate Meetings for School Board, highlighting NOAH’s issues (especially racial disparity in suspensions) and gaining commitments from all candidates to work with NOAH.
- May-June 2020: In face of a 34% property tax increase, NOAH organized publicity on existing senior property tax assistance programs (3 TV stories, 8000 Facebook contacts, 3000 emails, contacts with agencies and NOAH congregations). https://www.noahtn.org/prop_tax_asst_2020
- 2020: NOAH advocated for a Metro Budget with $10 million in Barnes Housing Fund, as well as more money for schools and other needs. https://www.noahtn.org/budget2020
- 2019: All 8 candidates for Mayor committed to work with NOAH on Affordable Housing, Education, Criminal Justice, and Economic Equity & Jobs at a public meeting of 600. Later, Run-Off Candidates Briley and Cooper, pledged
to work with NOAH. Each claimed to be the best to address lack of wages & affordable housing. http://bit.ly/brileycooper
- 2018: As part of the Stand Up Nashville Coalition, NOAH won a Community Benefits Agreement on proposed soccer stadium, 20% of related housing to be affordable, stadium employees to start at $15.50/hr, “High Road Contractors” hiring from poverty areas,
and a sliding scale child care center.
- 2018-2020: At NOAH’s urging, Mayors appointed 3 affordable housing experts, including 2 NOAH leaders, to the board of Metro Development and Housing Agency. MDHA manages public housing, as well as downtown and neighborhood development – but needs a renewed focus on housing.
- 2016-2020: NOAH increased resources for affordable housing by funding from Mayor and Metro Council to Barnes Affordable Housing Trust Fund ($45 million over 5 years). In 2019 budget crisis, the Mayor cut $5 million from Barnes Fund. NOAH held a demonstration
of 100 people, showing critical need.
- 2018: NOAH won a “no suspension policy” for elementary students as a way to break the “school-to-prison pipeline,” especially for Black and brown children in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
- 2016-2018: NOAH pushed for mental health diversion from jail with the Mayor, Metro Council, Metro Health Department, and mental health advocates state-wide, winning $3.5 million for a new Nashville diversion center.
- 2016-2017: NOAH gained Mayor Barry’s original public commitment to implement body and dash cameras throughout MNPD; Pushed Metro Council to approve original budget allocations for body cameras and dash cameras (although implementation has been held up).