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Formerly homeless Nashville woman working to get others housed

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Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 22:32:59-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As a formerly homeless woman who got sober, it took Liz Mallard months to get into housing.

Now, she's trying to pay some of her fortune back.

Every Tuesday, over in West Nashville, there's an outpouring of love for a group of people who've likely seen easier days.

"Every Tuesday, we come out and we bring hygiene, clothing, toiletries and food," said Mallard. "We also have some meals, some bread and some sweets we bring out."

Mallard knows living on the streets is difficult.

She spent more than a decade at various camps. A majority of that was spent in Brookmeade Greenway.

She'll have been off the street and in her new apartment for a year on Aug. 3.

Mallard said she still remembers what it's like, and she remembers she spent that time with, such as a young man people call "Smoky."

He's a young man who's had some trouble, but Mallard isn't giving up on him.

"He's really interested in getting housing. I had talked to him a couple weeks ago about it, and today he goes, 'I really want to get some housing,'" she said.

She said it takes small steps constant reassurance can convince a person to take the leap.

Mallard said there's fear for people of leaving what they know.

For her, the encouragement of people like those with Colby's Army got her on the path to sobriety and housing.

"Out here, you see a lot of bad things," she said. "You see death, you see overdoses, and they want to get out of it too. To have the resources to do it is what everybody is seeking."

There are many others who are joining her, like Julie Bendler from the Mental Health Coop.

"We don't have an agenda. We're just trying to give them what they need right now to do better to know this is not the reality they have to settle for," said Bendler.

There are many stories about the problems with Brookmeade Greenway's homeless camp.

But for the people trying to find a permanent solution, they see the people.

People who they feel can have the same story as Liz Mallard.

"There's days I wake up and I still am in shock that I'm in my apartment and that's what I want them to see that's possible," said Mallard.