HCHRA Hosts Community Action Partnership Banquet on May 19th in Honor of National Community Action Month

In celebration of 40 years of service to the community, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) will host the Community Action Partnership (CAP) Banquet on Friday, May 19, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Hilton Jackson Hotel.  The evening will feature an awards ceremony and an inspirational keynote address from Rev. C. Edward Rhodes II, pastor of Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson.

In addition to being a part of HCHRA’s 40th year anniversary celebration, the CAP Banquet is being held in recognition of National Community Action Month, which is observed by Community Action Agencies all across America for the entire month of May. HCHRA is a part of a state and a national coalition of Community Action Agencies whose goal is to help low-income families move out of poverty and achieve economic security.  HCHRA is the largest Community Action Agency in central Mississippi, serving more than 20,000 individuals last year in Hinds County alone.

More than 300 tickets have already been sold for the CAP Banquet.  The event will kick off with a banquet dinner, and will feature the musical styling of world-renowned saxophonist, Dr. Jessie Primer III. The Mistress of Ceremonies for the night will be Ms. Erin Pickens, morning anchor for 16 WAPT News in Jackson.  Though the festivities are sure to please, the highlight of the evening will undeniably be the presentation of the Bootstrap Awards.  The Bootstrap Awards are presented to members of the community who, with the individualized assistance of HCHRA, have overcome tremendous odds and significantly challenging life situations.  “HCHRA is proud of its Bootstrap Award recipients, all of whom exemplify hard work and determination,” said Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of Hinds County Human Resource Agency.  “Their personal and professional accomplishments have truly set them apart, and they exemplify the mission of HCHRA – to help empower disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.”

Cockrell went on to explain that Community Action Month is an ideal time for HCHRA to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country. “Agencies like ours do good work and are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security.  Community Action understands that each community and each family are unique, and it provides a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways,” stated Cockrell.

This year, HCHRA will educate 1,910 children through the Head Start Program and assist hundreds of individuals obtain employment.  Some of the other services offered by HCHRA include education assistance, home energy bill payment assistance, congregate meals for seniors and home-delivered meals for those who are home-bound because of age or a disability.

To learn more about HCHRA’s programs and services, please visit www.hchra.org.  For more information on how to purchase tickets for the CAP Banquet, or to find out how you can support HCHRA’s work to move families out of poverty, call (601) 923-1938.

HCHRA Appreciates Its Employees for 40 Years of Continuous Service

To kick off its celebration of 40 years of operations, Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) held a company-wide Employee Fun Field Day on March 13, 2017, at the Jamie Fowler Boyll Park in Jackson, Mississippi.

HCHRA planned the event for its nearly 400 employees as a way to say thank you for contributing to the agency’s successful operation and impact to the community over the last 40 years.  HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell explained that the agency operates federally funded programs such as Head Start and Community Services Block Grant, which are highly regulated and held to strict standards of performance.  “There is no way we could have made it to our fortieth year of operation without employees who work daily in a spirit of excellence,” said Cockrell.  “Saying thank you in a meaningful way shows our employees that we truly value their contributions.”

“This is a great place to work,’’ said Roger Lutrell, vice president for planning and development.  “I have only been with this agency for three months now, and already, they have surpassed my expectations.  I work directly in administration and I see firsthand the love and care that’s put into employees.’’

In spite of chilly temperatures, employees had a great time at the HCHRA Employee Fun Field Day.  They played games such a bingo, Uno, and musical chairs, and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs and chicken fresh from the grill, prepared by HCHRA executives with the assistance of Central Office staff.

The Employee Fun Field Day was the first of several events to be held to commemorate HCHRA’s 40 years of service to the community.  Details about upcoming events will be provided each month on the agency’s website.

VP for Planning and Development Roger Lutrell and EVP/COO David Knight prepared grilled hot dogs, burgers and chicken for almost 400 employees.

HCHRA staff enjoyed the day out…

There was dancing…

Good food…



Musical chairs…

And laughter…


HCHRA is a public non-profit community action agency dedicated to helping families and strengthening communities.  For 40 years, HCHRA has built its solid reputation in eradicating poverty by empowering disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.  Through Head Start, Early Head Start, congregate and home-delivered meals, home energy assistance, rural transportation, case management, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Earned Income Tax Credit Programs, HCHRA continues to improve the conditions of children, families, single adults, the elderly and citizens with disabilities throughout Hinds County.  More detailed information on HCHRA programs and services is available here on our website.

HCHRA Executive Featured in the Mississippi Business Journal

Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer David Knight was featured in the March 16, 2017 edition of the Mississippi Business Journal for completing Jackson State University’s Institute of Government’s (IOG) 16-week Public Management and Leadership (PML) Certificate Program.

Click here to read the article and learn more about the PML Certificate Program.

David Knight (center) receives PML Program certificate from Dr. William “Marty” Wiseman, PML Director, and Dr. Otha Burton, IOG Executive Director.

Utility Payment Assistance Available on the Spot – Saturday, March 25th

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) will host its 2017 LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) Awareness Day on Saturday, March 25, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Black’s Chapel Church located at 3425 Robinson Street in Jackson, Mississippi.  HCHRA case managers will provide LIHEAP assistance as well as Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds on the spot.

LIHEAP provides financial assistance to eligible households to help pay the cost of home energy bills and other energy related services.  CSBG provides funds to help alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in communities.  

Who is eligible?
You must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor, live in Hinds County, and meet income guidelines.

How do I apply?
Come to the LIHEAP Awareness Day on March 25th and receive onsite assistance.  No appointment is necessary on this day.  If you have never received assistance, go to the Virtual ROMA website at https://virtualroma.mdhs.ms.gov to complete the online application.  If you do not have access to a computer, you may complete the Virtual ROMA application onsite March 25th.

To receive LIHEAP or CSBG assistance, bring ALL of the following documents:

  • Proof of all income for all adults in the household, including pay stubs for the past 30 days, SSI, award letter from Social Security Administration, unemployment, pension/ retirement statements, and verification of child support, if applicable.
  • If unemployed, you must provide documentation to show WIN Job Center registration within the last 30 days.
  • If you have children under 18 but do not receive child support, you must provide verification of your cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS).
  • Social Security Cards for all household members
  • Picture IDs for all adults in the household
  • Birth Certificates for all household members
  • Guardianship documentation for any child in your household that is not your biological child
  • Current utility bills

NOTE: Black’s Chapel Church does not operate the LIHEAP or CSBG programs. The church is the site for the March 25th LIHEAP Awareness Day event.  Funds are administered by Hinds County Human Resource Agency in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Human Services.  Church staff is not able to provide assistance.  If you need additional information about LIHEAP or CSBG, please visit Our Programs page here on our website.




HCHRA Managers Complete Public Management and Leadership Program

HCHRA managers Chelsea Luster (2nd from left) and David Knight (far right), along with their cohorts, successfully completed their requirements in the JSU Institute of Government’s Public Management and Leadership Certificate Program in December.

Hinds County Human Resource Agency is pleased to recognize Mr. David Knight, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Ms. Chelsea Luster, associate vice president for Head Start and Early Childhood Programs, for successfully completing the Public Management and Leadership Program at Jackson State University’s Institute of Government (IOG) this past December.

Jackson State University’s IOG understands that the success of an organization is directly tied to the “readiness” of middle management and lower-level supervisors.  Based upon research and observations that suggest there is an under-readiness within middle and lower-level administrative personnel, the IOG offers the Public Management and Leadership Program designed specifically for managers with a critical focus on understanding government finance and budgeting; human resource management; policy development, implementation, accountability and evaluation; government structure, function and operation; ethics and legal frameworks of public service organizations; conflict resolution; effective supervision and leadership; and general public management issues.

“The successful operations of Hinds County Human Resource Agency depend heavily upon the core subject areas taught in the PML Program,” said Kenn Cockrell, President and CEO of HCHRA.  “We are pleased to have two of our top managers complete the program and bring such valuable and practical knowledge from the program to our agency.”

State employees who complete JSU’s Institute of Government’s Public Management and Leadership Certificate Program will qualify for a 3 percent salary increase based on a recent declaration by the Mississippi Personnel Board that designates Jackson State’s 16-week skills-building course as an “educational benchmark.”

“This is good for JSU,” said Dr. Otha Burton, JSU’s executive director of IOG.  He explained that the program is a three-month, non-academic intensive program involving 45 contact hours of development with notable individuals serving as faculty members.  These elite instructors from various sectors of government aim to assist employees in doing their jobs more effectively.

IOG’s 2016 fall cohorts successfully completed the PML program December 14th after hitting a new benchmark requiring them to associate each of their three-week subjects with personal job duties and responsibilities. This was JSU’s third PML session, and certificates were awarded at JSU’s 101 Downtown Campus.

To date, 27 mid-level managers have earned their qualifications. These employees are from city, county and state governments, public nonprofit organizations, and university staff.

PML sessions are offered each spring and fall.  The 2017 spring session begins January 24.  Applicants for admission and selection are eligible if they are currently employed in a government or public/nonprofit agency in a middle management or lower-level administrative position, or are aspiring to move into such positions.

For more information on the Public Management and Leadership Certificate Program, visit www.jsums.edu/instituteofgovernment or call 601-979-2339.

Instructors and guests gather to acknowledge and celebrate JSU’s third class of cohorts in IOG’s management and leadership program.

(Photos by Charles A. Smith/JSU)

HCHRA Hosts Its 2016 Employee Appreciation Luncheon

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) hosts a luncheon each year to honor current employees who have exhibited unparalleled commitment to HCHRA. The 2016 event was held on Tuesday, November 22nd at the Jackson Convention Complex and honored 11 employees for over 280 years of service (combined).

Staff being honored at the event were: Artessa Jenkins, Ellis Johnson, and Demetra Stokes for 15 years of service each; Gloria Brown for 20 years of service; Patricia Edwards, Lisa Hemphill, and Mary Williams for 25 years of service each; Patsie Jones and Jacqueline Laury for 30 years of service each; and Al Junior and Gloria Bailey Chambers for 40 years of service each. Their commitment to the well-being of Hinds County residents and customers of HCHRA is admirable and should be celebrated by all.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the “Employees of the Year” awards. These awards are presented annually for multiple departments, to employees who continually exemplify the Agency’s mission, and serve as true ambassadors. The recipients of these awards were nominated by their peers from their respective areas. They include:

  • Head Start Administrative Staff of the Year – Twana Mallard
  • Center Administrator of the Year – Almeta Roberts
  • Children’s Services Education Staff of the Year – Lisa Hemphill
  • Children’s Services Education Staff of the Year – Rosalena McClendon
  • Children’s Services Education Staff of the Year – Sonja Dishmon-Coleman
  • Children’s Services Education Staff of the Year – Keyanna Levison
  • Children’s Services Education Staff of the Year – Helen Cavett
  • Children’s Services Nutrition Staff of the Year – Phyllis Taylor
  • Head Start Transportation Staff of the Year – Frank Williams
  • Family and Community Services Staff of the Year – Kathy Sheriff
  • Head Start Facilities and Field Services Staff of the Year – Jerry Fields
  • Department of Community Programs Administrative Staff of the Year – Ethel Minnifield
  • Department of Community Programs Staff of the Year – Carol Wells
  • HCHRA Administrative Staff of the Year – Carolyn Upkins
  • HCHRA Spirit of Community Service Award – Vickie Johnson
  • HCHRA Cheerleader Award – Susan Chandler

“HCHRA congratulates each awardee and commends the employees and their families on their dedication to our mission. We have a good group of people working together for the greater good of many others. The enjoyment of sharing a meal together right before the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the ways we like to show our appreciation for their good works,” said Kenn Cockrell, President & CEO.

Head Start Centers and Central Office Closing Early Today

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for an accumulation of snow and ice.

To ensure the safety of our students, clients and staff, Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Head Start centers and Central Office will close early today.

All Head Start centers will close at 1:00 p.m.   Parents are asked to pick up their children from the centers at 1:00 p.m.  Children who ride the bus, will be transported home beginning at 1:00 p.m.  If you have questions or need more information, please contact your Center Administrator.

Central Office will close at 2:00 p.m.  If you had an appointment for assistance, we will make every effort to reschedule you within the next few days.  Please call 601-923-3950 to reschedule your appointment.

Join the #GivingTuesday Movement on November 29, 2016


Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) is a part of the #GivingTuesday movement, and we ask you to join us in our commitment to helping families, especially this holiday season.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.  Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a world-wide day of giving that celebrates and supports giving to bring about real change in communities.  It provides a platform to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to empower one another and address local challenges.

This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 29, 2016.  HCHRA asks you to support our efforts to ensure that families throughout Hinds County have lights, electricity and warmth in a safe and stable home.

“We have thousands of families in Hinds County who live in poverty,” said Kenn Cockrell, HCHRA President & CEO.  “Whether the head of the household is working a low-paying job or living with a disability, it’s a challenge for those families throughout the year to be able to enjoy basic necessities like food, clothing, standard housing and reliable transportation that so many take for granted; but it’s especially tough during the holiday season when home energy costs may be higher and when, if at all possible, a family that is struggling financially wants to provide a little holiday cheer with food and gifts.”

Every holiday season, and throughout the year, HCHRA sees first-hand how families are left to choose between paying rent and utility bills or buying a gift for a child.  This shouldn’t be.  Give thanks for your ability to share gifts with your loved ones, friends and neighbors, and give to those who are not as fortunate as you.  Your gift will help HCHRA provide families in poverty with greater opportunities for a stable home.

Those who are interested in joining HCHRA’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit hchra.org/community-partners/giving-opportunities.

About #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a movement, built by people around the world, to celebrate giving of all kinds.  It is celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), Black Friday and Cyber Monday; this year it falls on November 29, 2016. This movement is the result of the collective power of a unique blend of partners—nonprofits large and small; businesses and corporations; schools and universities; civic campaigns in cities, states and regions; and families and individuals—to inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities and contribute in countless ways to the causes they believe in. Everyone has something to give.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit:

Website: www.givingtuesday.org