The Northside Neighborhood House (NNH) serves rural communities that are underserved and often overlooked by providing a hand up through education and assistance. Since its inception 91 years ago, the NNH has been located on the Northshore in Chattanooga. However, the agency’s service area spans a seven zip code region from Red Bank and Hixson to Soddy Daisy and beyond.
“In 2013, we started noticing a real shift in the number of clients we were seeing from North Hamilton County,” says Rachel Gammon, Executive Director of the NNH. “More and more individuals and families were traveling down to our main office to receive assistance because there are little to no resources for them in the their communities. We kept hearing from these clients that they lacked the reliable transportation or financial means to travel to our main office so we knew we had to do something.”
To help bridge this gap in services, the NNH opened a North Hamilton County Office on the campus of Dallas Bay Baptist Church. The office provides basic needs support as well as workforce development through computer classes and job search assistance. The office is also equipped with several computers that offer GED prep courses and technology.
“Our North Hamilton Case Manager is really invested in these communities,” says Gammon. “She has taken the time to build meaningful relationships with community members and organizations like the Soddy Daisy Food Bank and local churches so we can collaborate to effectively serve our neighbors to the north.”
The NNH also offers Family Dinner Nights in North Hamilton County at several area schools. During Family Dinner Nights, families receive a free meal and have the opportunity to socialize with one another and other families in the community. After dinner, parents benefit from Parenting Workshops hosted by local community experts with topics such as “Cyberbullying and Internet Safety” and “Support Your Child’s Reading.”
One principal who attended a Family Dinner Night said, “Many of our families look forward to these nights because they aren’t used to going out to a nice dinner. They just don’t have the extra funds to take their families out.”