Community Services News

Where human needs and government intersect. The Division of Community Services promotes ongoing economic security and independence for the people of Shelby County. We do this by promoting, coordinating and delivering services that address the underlying conditions for well-being and justice. We strive to be a highly organized team and partner, dedicated to promoting a strong community where all people are able to reach their full potential.

Jul 08

Ready, Set, GO!

Posted on July 8, 2022 at 3:59 PM by Jessica Harris

Community Services Agency

Ready, Set, Go!

October 1st is finally here and Shelby County Community Services Agency is READY to offer various types of assistance to the residents of Shelby County. 
We are SET to empower our customers to not only improve their lives through economic security and stability, but also their communities by planting seeds of change as we move toward a brighter future. 
We GO full speed ahead, providing the needed assistance for customers experiencing financial difficulty during these unprecedented times. 
Today, we shine a spotlight on our utility assistance program -- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program will provide Emergency Utility Assistance to qualifying customers in as little as 48 hours
Lastly, we are excited to spread the word that our benefit amounts for this fiscal year have increased!! Eligible customers can receive up to $1000 dollars toward their utility costs.  Our slogan, Helping People, Changing Lives, speaks volumes to the fact that Shelby County Community Services is READY and SET to GO serve the residents of Shelby County!  |  901-222-4212
Jul 08

Director's Message: Safety Net

Posted on July 8, 2022 at 3:57 PM by Jessica Harris

Safety Net 

Honesty moment. I am an eternal idealist dressed in pragmatic clothing. There are many days, however, as a professional and human that I feel exhausted trying to just think about the solutions necessary to truly “fix” the challenges that face us. The issues of poverty, housing, public safety, education all are so overwhelming that at times it can feel discouraging because it feels impossible to eliminate. This has often made me ponder whether the daily emergency and triage of services that we offer to assist with the symptoms of these massive ills really is helping at all.

Luckily, I am frequently reminded of the importance and necessity of creating a system that both addresses the immediate needs and commits to eliminating and preventing the underlying conditions that create these needs. Without first being able to address a family’s needs for housing, utilities, or trauma, how would we ever be able to support interventions for the root causes? Just this week, I received a reminder from a resident that, without the hope that came from the financial assistance for housing that she received, she wasn’t sure if she could keep going. She reminded me that the Division of Community Services is that safety net that gave her what she needed at the time to keep moving towards her goals for her family. She reminded me that this work is 100% necessary and does make a difference.

In this month’s issue, I invite you to read about some of the many ways that the Division of Community Services serves as a safety net for Shelby County residents. While this team works hard to create, maintain, and continually improve this safety net, it in no way diminishes our collective effort and passion to be a part of the disruption and eradication of the systems of poverty, inequity, and injustice that create the need for our work. For all of you fellow idealists out there, I hope that this month’s issue reminds you that you can and should commit to both as well. Balancing both makes the impossible a great deal more probable. Keep pushing!

Dorcas Young Griffin
Director of the Division of Community Services
Shelby County Government

Jul 08

Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier

Posted on July 8, 2022 at 3:54 PM by Jessica Harris

Office of Justice Initiatives
Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier.

The word, honor, includes selfless service as a part of its definition. That leads us to these questions: What is honor without service? What is service without optimism? With the celebration of Veterans Day in our rearview mirror, who is better to quote about honor or service than the late Colin Powell? He stated that “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” There is honor in optimism. Imagine a soldier in the landmine-ridden fields of Cambodia not believing in themselves, their purpose or believing they will make it out. Perpetual optimism is constantly believing conditions will improve and that the future must be brighter. 

Documented evidence continues to prove that being optimistic has measurable benefits. Optimists live longer. They have happier lives and handle adversity better. Optimism is not the denial of reality nor is it toxic positivity. Optimism is different from positivity. In reality, optimism is about believing that there’s something better on the other side of the present circumstance or reality. Optimism is about acknowledging light at the end of the tunnel even amidst darkness. 
The staff of the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program has a front-row seat to tragedy and hardship on a daily basis. There is no better way to honor these families than by radiating an extra dose of optimism every day. We have learned that a person could push a nail through a wood plank with her bare hand. But if that same person had a hammer, the task is much easier. Let optimism be your hammer. 

Think the best. Expect the best. Be optimistic.