Metro Council to move forward with standalone Office of Homeless Services, advocates have concerns

nashville homeless camp.JPG
Posted at 3:04 PM, Jun 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-26 16:04:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — At Tuesday night's Metro Council budget meeting, a vote passed to establish a standalone Office of Homeless Services in Nashville.

The decision to create this new office effectively removed the Metro Homeless Impact Division (MHID) from underneath its current umbrella organization, Metro Social Services (MSS) and will create a single, independent entity in Nashville to help respond to the needs of the city's homeless population.

However, the method for selection of the organization's director — determined by a late-filed amendment — could mean that the community's input on the position would be limited. Advocates have expressed concern that this could corrode community trust and jeopardize the political independence of the new Office.

There has been some fear that political pressure from the Mayor's Office and others in positions of power could disallow the division to operate truly independently.

The Homelessness Planning Council of the Davidson County Continuum of Care (CoC) wishes to be more substantially involved in the hiring process for the new Director of the Office of Homeless Services in the interest of "restoring trust with homeless service providers," according to Open Table Nashville, a nonprofit, interfaith community that provides education about issues of homelessness.

Still, advocates believe that the establishment of the Office of Homeless Services in Nashville is a big win for the community.