Metro Council members call on mayor to hire permanent director of Homeless Impact Division

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Posted at 8:34 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 09:34:56-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Homelessness is an issue many cities deal with it, and Music City is no exception.

With the influx of people moving here and the cost of living rising, more people are sadly becoming unhoused.

Several council members are calling on Mayor John Cooper to hire someone quickly that’s committed to housing policies.

Council Member Freddie O’Connell said two top leaders of the homeless division have stepped away. He wants the new homeless director to have a good understanding of housing policies across the board.

He also wants the Mayor’s office, Metro Social Services, and Metro HR to move quickly to identify permanent leadership committed to housing first policies.

O’Connell, along with several council members, are also sponsoring a bill, BL2021-971, that would establish a unified Office of Housing and Homelessness.

He said there’s never been a standalone department that focuses exclusively on housing within the Mayor’s office.

The new homeless director would run this division and help develop policies to help those who are unhoused and those who fall on hard times.

“So, if you fall out of housing and now suddenly you are homeless. If you're experiencing homelessness, for any period, what happens then right? Can you get rapidly rehoused? I would want somebody with some awareness of the elements of our strategic plan that include a housing first approach that basically says 'we're going to get long term solutions to this and be able to supply housing,'” Metro Councilmember Freddie O'Connell said.

This new bill will be introduced at Tuesday night’s council meeting and will take three readings to pass.