Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pizza with Planners: Affordable Housing

Housing Trust Funds may help Memphis

By: Timothy Redd
Timothy Redd
On Tuesday November 14, 2017 I attended Pizza with Planners. The topic was affordable housing. There was a robust conversation about housing disparity and affordable housing in Memphis.

Justin Entzminger from Innovate Memphis walked us through the landscape the challenges Memphis faces. Some key things form the 2017 American Community Survey were:

  • Memphis has lost the highest amount of affordable housing nationally.
  • There are more renters than homeowners here, 53 % of people here rent which is an 11% increase.  
  • Research shows a correlation between housing and poor out comes related to mental and physical health, family stability, neighborhood sustainability
  • Low home ownership, low home values, and high vacancy add to high cost burden.

Michael Anderson, Center for Community Change Director told us about how housing trust funds could address and remedy the need for affordable housing. Housing trust funds are distinct funds established by city, county or state governments that receive ongoing dedicated sources of public funding to support the preservation and production of affordable housing. Housing trust funds can increase opportunities for families and individuals to access decent affordable homes. 

Today more than 770 housing trust funds have been established across 47 states contributing a 1.2 billion dollar revenue. Nashville has established one as well as Knoxville and it has helped people attain affordable housing. 

I think this is a great initiative we learned in many cities voters went to the ballot box and voted measured for affordable housing. I left the meeting thinking this could be a push in the right direction but I also was left wondering how we make housing trust funds happen here. To learn more about this initiative check out

Friday, November 10, 2017

Disability Awareness Committee

 Access and Abilities

By Christina Clift
On Thursday, November 9, 2017 the members of the Memphis Advisory Council for Citizens with Disabilities (MACCD) Disability Awareness Committee met to begin working on meeting their goals for 2018.  The committee established two main goals during the strategic planning meeting held back in August.  They include Holding a city-wide conference and creating a media and social media campaign that will emphasize the strengths and abilities of Memphians with disabilities.  

The committee also plans to work on improving the disaster preparedness policies in our city by looking at ways to improve communication during the event to all persons with disabilities.  Besides performing a postmortem of our Lifecare Planning Seminar, the committee worked to create action steps to begin planning a city-wide event in 2018.  We decided to table the media and social media campaign action plan until our January meeting.

The committee decided to hold the city-wide conference focusing on Access and Abilities either on September 19th or 26th of 2018.  The committee plans to ensure that this event is as hands-on and interactive as possible.  Some of the ideas for the event will include an assistive technology fair.  This event would not only demonstrate new devices or software that enable people with disabilities to do everyday activities, but also educating the public about the latest advancements in technology so that they can make informed choices.  

Our second area will be adaptive sports.  Again, not only will there be demonstrations but also an educational component about how to create adaptive sports programs in our community.  Next, we plan to have an obstacle course to simulate various types of disabilities.  This activity will provide attendees the opportunity to experience briefly how people with disabilities do everyday things like buttoning a shirt with one hand or getting something from a high shelf while seated in a wheelchair.  Finally, we will have several panel discussions related to the various activity areas.  While this event is not finalized, we hope to have a location and date nailed down by December 15, 2017 and will begin publicizing it by the end of January.

The next meeting of the Disability Awareness Committee is scheduled for January 11, 2018 from 1:00-2:30 PM.  If you’d like more information on how to join the committee or would like to provide input, please e-mail Christina Clift, the committee’s chair at or call (901) 726-6404 ext. 108. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Clift Notes: MACCD gets new direction

Memphis Advisory Council for Citizens with Disabilities

By Christina Clift
Christina Clift
On Wednesday, November 8, 2017 members of the Memphis Advisory Council for Citizens with Disabilities met for their last meeting of the year.  During the meeting new officers were elected, new members were introduced, and committee reports were given.  

The meeting started and ended on a somber note.  At the start of the meeting Gary Smith, the MACCD Chair, read a letter written by Mayor Strickland to Michael, the son of Veronica MacKinney, who passed away on October 22, 2017.  Veronica served as a member of the MACCD for many years and advocated tirelessly for local business to hire individuals with disabilities.  At the end of the meeting Gary Smith announced that he would be retiring from his position with the state, but that he would continue working with the council and other entities to improve the lives of people with disabilities in our community.

On a more positive note, new officers were elected during yesterday’s meeting.  They including Brandy Fox as Secretary, Deborah Carter as Vice Chair, and Christina Clift as Chair.  These individuals will hold their positions for the next two years. 
There are also seven new members on the MACCD to replace those individuals who had to step down, who died, or who did not meet the attendance requirement set forth in the bylaws.   

The new council members were given the opportunity to introduce themselves.  You can find a complete list of members by visiting

Finally, council members received updates from each committee on their progress towards their strategic goals.  The Housing and Community Access Committee is currently working on compiling information regarding resources for home modifications that assist in making homes accessible and enable people to remain living in their community. 
The Transportation Committee is working on auditing the five routes with the highest ridership to determine whether or not they are calling out stop announcements. This would enable people who are blind, memory loss or intellectual disabilities reminders and the ability to stay oriented as they travel on the bus.  The committee is also working with MATA to streamline the recertification process for MATAPlus.  

The Education and Employment Committee is working on recruiting and training local employers about hiring individuals with disabilities and their goal is to provide training for 12 businesses by August 2018.  

The Disability Awareness Committee is starting to plan for the 2018 Abilities Conference which will highlight the strengths of people with disabilities.  They are also working on developing a media campaign to promote the accomplishments of Memphians with disabilities as well as emergency preparedness.