Councilman wants answers on how $300,000 for Hope for the Inner - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Councilman wants answers on how $300,000 for Hope for the Inner City was being spent

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The program is touted for giving those most at-risk a new lease on life. 

But one city councilman is criticizing Hope for the Inner City because he says he's not being told the whole story. 

"You're not giving me the information whether to decide if you're doing a good job or not," District 4 Councilman Larry Grohn told program leaders Tuesday. 

Grohn voiced his concerns to program leaders at Tuesday's Violence Reduction Initiative Tuesday. 

Those with the organization say their work is imperative to breaking the cycle many gang members find themselves in by giving them access to services like jobs. 

But Grohn wants to see data supporting those claims. 

"If it's good, then we're going to see what we can do to enhance that program and make it even better and if it's bad and not working and we're not getting the outcomes that we want, what can we do to change and, if necessary, get rid of and implement a new program?" he told Channel 3. 

Council members were given data Tuesday showing the number of clients who have come to Hope for the Inner City with needs, how many had needs met and the number of services provided since VRI was created in 2014. 

The report shows more than 300 VRI participants have been provided a job opportunity through Hope for the Inner City. Of those 60 are no longer working. 

But Grohn says that's not enough and says he's been asking for five months to see how the $300,000 that fund the program is being spent. 

"I've asked for are they working, what salary are they making, are they working part time, are they working full time?" he said. 

Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith says the agency doesn't have reports with that kind of information. He also said some of the information Grohn wants is confidential. 

"Anything that could give a clue to who those people are, that would put us in a position of endangering the lives of the clients that we serve," Smith added. 

Smith said Tuesday he's willing to work with Grohn to get him the data he needs. As of Wednesday, Grohn says that hasn't happened. 

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