East Nashville Homeless Encampment To Be Cleared Out

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 29, 2017

An East Nashville homeless community that has been in the same location for more than ten years has been forced to relocate due to development coming to the area. 

The encampment is located right off Ellington Parkway, and both city officials and developers have told members of the encampment that they need to move, or their camps could be bulldozed. 

"This is our house, this is where we live," Melissa, a resident of the encampment said of the house her husband built out of scrap wood and nails. 

Melissa, and many others, can't go to the mission because they don't allow couples to stay there. Because of that, they're left searching for a place to lay their head at night and store their belongings. 

"They're fighting to not only survive, but to get housing," Lindsey Krinks of Open Table Nashville, said. "That process in Nashville can take over a year with our waiting lists and with all the hoops." 

Police distributed a map of areas where camps are not allowed to be set up in hopes of keeping the communities from being prosecuted for trespassing. The problem is, while they've been told where they can't go, they haven't been told where they can go. 

Each person in the encampment has faced struggles, and having a place to live helps them overcome those struggles. 

"I understand their situation (the developers), I just wish they could understand our situation." Roman, a resident of the encampment, explained. "Maybe if the shoe was on the other foot." 

Roman got a job and is working toward getting back on his feet. 

"Some of us want to come up, come out of here, but we need a little time. I definitely need some time." 

For now, the hope of those in the encampment is people will show compassion and lend a helping hand, whether that be in the form of food, work, or shelter. 

"We have no where to go but here," Melissa said. "This is home to us." 

City officials have acknowledged that homelessness in Nashville needs to be addressed, and they have been working to accommodate the growth while supporting the city's most vulnerable citizens.