Meetings aim to find solutions to homelessness in Nashville

Posted at 8:43 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 06:58:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — City leaders, homeless advocates and residents from across Nashville weighed in on how to find solutions to homelessness in the city.

The community meeting at the downtown Nashville Public Library was organized by Vice Mayor Jim Shulman in an effort to compile different opinions and come up with one comprehensive plan the city can implement going forward.

"With so many ideas and so many opinions floating around, it seemed logical to bring everyone to the table," Shulman said.

The event was moderated by former judge Patsy Cottrell. Participants sat in groups at tables where they were able to brainstorm ideas for both short and long-term solutions. Discussions touched on ideas ranging from providing mental health resources to building more affordable housing.

Patty Hartman shared her personal experience during the discussion. She was homeless for almost a year and said with the right support and resources others who live on the street will be able to find housing.

"If they could just have a chance to be able to have a structure, a place to bathe, a place to eat and sleep, you will see the economy in Nashville even grow bigger," said Hartman.

The Brookemeade Park homeless encampment in West Nashville has been at the center of the recent debate. Around 80 people currently live in the encampment, and it continues to grow. Members of the group Reclaim Brookemeade Park were also at the meeting and supported a transitional center that would help people get off the streets into permanent housing.

"We are hoping they will buy into this idea," said Rebecca Lowe, a member of Reclaim Brookemeade Park. "It's new, but it has been working in other cities and we think they should give it a hard look."

A follow-up meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1 from 5-8 p.m. at the downtown library.

Ideas presented on Tuesday will be compiled and participants will try to come up with one comprehensive plan that will be presented to the Mayor's office, Nashville Office of Emergency Management, and the Homeless Impact Division.