NashvilleBusiness.Net 100 Leading African Americans 2018 Recipient: Clifton Harris

Click Here To Listen Nashville Business 100 Leading African Americans Clifton Harris

Clifton Harris, is a native of Cary, N.C., a long-time community organizer and advocate for the most vulnerable population (the homeless). One year and two months ago, he was appointed to lead the Urban League of Middle Tennessee (ULMT) and he is off to a great start. Harris is no stranger to the non-profit community. He has successfully managed six different non-profit agencies during his career. Harris’s work has made him an expert in the field of helping homeless individuals and families. As the former Executive Director of Sophia’s Heart, Harris, he was known as a leader who loves people with a passion to help families become successful in life. While at Sophia’s Heart, Harris set a high standard within the staff, volunteers and families served.

He was appointed by former Mayor Bill Purcell to organize and lead the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission. He created and hosted Nashville’s first Project Homeless Connect; an event that assisted thousands of homeless individuals in need of various much needed services. Mr. Harris was responsible for the implementation of Nashville’s Ten Year Plan to reduce and end chronic homelessness. He coordinated Nashville’s efforts to implement Housing First, which places homeless people into permanent housing coupled with intensive case management. This best practice solution reshaped Nashville’s approach to offering permanent solutions to the most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals in our community. Under his leadership, the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission created its Housing First program, implemented the nationally recognized SOAR Program that fast-tracks individuals to receiving SSI/SSDI income, and organized three Project Homeless Connect events, (provided direct services to 1,500+ individuals affected by homelessness).

Mr. Harris is a great asset to the Urban League of Middle Tennessee. His integrity, experience, knowledge and leadership can and will help lift ULMT to the next level.” Before moving to Nashville in 2005, Clifton held the Homeless Services Director’s position at three licensed residential treatment facilities in Memphis, TN. He worked with people dealing with mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and victims (women and children) of domestic violence. Clifton has more than 30 years of experience in housing and community & economic development.

Harris, is a seasoned veteran who has worked tirelessly in the field of homelessness and community development. He graduated from St. Augustine’s College with a degree in business administration. Harris says he is thankful that God has matched his passion for people with the Urban League. “I feel like it is a union that is meant to be, so that the
good work that’s being done will become a great work in our community,” says Harris. “I’ve been given an opportunity to invite African Americans, other minorities and disenfranchised groups to have a seat at the table and partake in all that the King has to offer – in securing economic self-reliance, power, parity, and civil rights. For this, I am eternally grateful,” says Harris.

Clifton continues to be an active leader in our community. Additionally, he Co-chair for Transit for Nashville’s Engagement Coalition, a member of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, a member and former Elder of Strong Tower Bible Church and an alumni of Leadership Nashville. Away from work, Clifton enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, Alfreda. They have three children and three grandchildren. Clifton also enjoys golfing.

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