Family Support is a state funded grant that provides financial assistance for families who have a family member with a disability.
The Arc of Davidson County administers the Family Support grant for Davidson County. For the fiscal year 2011-12, Family Support allotted $714.580 for Davidson County.
The Arc's Family Support Program serves approximately 650 individuals with disabilities in Davidson County. The participants represent all socio-economic backgrounds and types of permanent disability. Currently there are over 900 people on the waiting list for Family Support. Yet it is estimated that the people on the waiting list are only a small percentage of the true population of persons with disabilities in Davidson County.
The typical assistance Family Support provides for each family member with a disability is $1,000 annually in Davidson County. This amount is determined by the Arc of Davidson County local council. The money may be used for anything the family needs to improve their quality of life. Such expenses might include specialized equipment, medical supplies, respite care, or transportation. Additionally, there is some funding for emergency situations for families on the waiting list. By vote of the local council, the emergency funding is earmarked for medical emergencies only.
Many of the participants in Family Support are dependent on Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) for the bulk of their income, and often the Family Support grant means the difference between being able to buy medicine or put food on the table or having to do without.
In addition to the dollars committed by the State of Tennessee to our Family Support Program, we also administer Community Enhancement Funds provided by the Mayor’s Office Metro Davidson County, and United Way funds provided by the United Way of Middle Tennessee. In general terms, these dollars are also available to persons with a permanent disability, although there may be slight differences in the manner in which the funds are allocated.
Family Support Update:
The Family Support division of The Arc has currently committed over $575,000 in Family Support funds, all of its $11,300 United Way Grant funds, and $45,000 in Community Enhancement Fund dollars for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The majority of the over 600 recipients are persons with mental illness, intellectual disabilities and/or a major health impairment. Funds from the three grants were largely used for respite care, health care or transportation. Mary Hildebrand, Director of Family Support, has also given two interviews to WSMV as one of the programs strongest and most vocal local advocates. It’s been a very busy year.
We are please to announce that the Family Support Program has been refunded. We would like to thank the many Family Support recipients who wrote letters, made phone calls, and visited their state legislators.
We feel that this state wide grassroots effort is largely responsible for future funding coming out of the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” and into the “Recurring Funds” budget column. Please thank your state legislators and Governor Haslam for responding to the needs of people with disabilities..