Landlords asked to step up and help Nashville's homeless

Committee hopes grant will help with permanent housing needs
nashville homeless camp.JPG
Posted at 4:16 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 11:45:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville's Continuum of Care Shelter Committee is calling on landlords to help find more permanent housing opportunities for our homeless.

The committee's chair, Cathy Jennings, said they will offer rent subsidies for up to a year to landlords who are able to provide housing for the homeless.

Recently, the city received about $10 million in grant money. A large portion of that grant will go toward finding the permanent housing for the homeless.

The committee has a goal of finding permanent housing for 400 people. Right now, it's estimated here are up to 2,000 homeless people within Davidson County.

Jennings said people tend to dismiss the homeless, sometimes because they don't see them. But, Jennings said that they're there. With the leaves falling off the trees in Nashville, people are now really seeing how many homeless encampments there are around the city.

Jennings said what affects one person really does impact another. "Homelessness can be solved when we address those types of solutions," she said. "Otherwise we just move people from encampments in the city to encampments in neighborhoods, and to shelters. It just becomes a continuous cycle."

Thursday morning, the committee will also meet to finalize the winter plan for the homeless. When the temperature drops below 28 degrees, warming shelters are opened. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic will make things a little more difficult.

Right now there are two main shelters in the county, the Nashville Rescue Mission and the Fairgrounds Nashville. To help with overflow, Metro will open another shelter on extremely cold nights where there will be temperature checks, employees checking for COVID symptoms, and social distancing.

"It's going to be a challenge and difficult for people who operate the shelters," said Judith Tackett, the Homeless Impact Division Director of Metro Social Services. "It's just everybody working together, including the health department and Metro Social Services has a lot of experience running the cold weather shelters."

Tackett said this is a team effort that includes Metro's first responders. During cold nights, they'll go around the city and transport men and women to shelters if it gets too cold for them to be outside.

To listen in on Thursday morning's Continuum of Care Shelter Committee meeting, click here. The meeting starts at 8:30a.m.