Metro wants to house nearly 700 homeless by end of the year

Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 22:00:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — About 200 emergency vouchers for Section 8 housing were approved in Metro Nashville to get homeless people into permanent housing.

So far in 2021, the city has already housed 475 homeless people. They hope they can add 200 more to that number. However, there's an obstacle. There aren't enough landlords willing to participate in Section 8.

So, the city is offering incentives.

"You mitigate some of the risk the landlord might feel renting to an applicant like that. We offer financial backstops through the mayor's Landlord Guarantee Fund," said Lizzie Goddard with Metro Homeless Impact Division. "So, we can offer up to $1,000 beyond the security deposit. We can offer rental coverage in case the tenant were to break that lease early to hold that unit. And then also, as well, with this goal that we set for the additional 200 people, we can offer sign-on bonuses for anyone who's accepting the emergency housing vouchers."

Goddard said she hopes it brings new landlords in. Meanwhile, the city is already having a large impact on the lives of those homed.

"I never dreamed I would end up with this caliber of an apartment on my income," said David Emery, who was just housed on August 17.

Emery lived homeless for nine months. He's 61-years-old.

"Some people don't realize how important housing is until they're in a situation where they don't have any. It's very important. It's very important for your psychological well-being, for your physical well-being, it changes your whole outlook on life," he said.

Emery was moved into a one-bedroom apartment. He survives off disability and social security.

Many who are homeless don't make it through the extreme temperatures in either the winter or summer.

Metro hopes focusing on housing will help take care of the city's homeless population of an estimated 1,200 people.

"I really believe housing is a human right and that homelessness is a housing status and nothing more," said Goddard. "The way to reverse homelessness is to secure housing. I really believe it can be as simple as that. So, having these new resources and funding to secure units, we can truly make a difference in the amount of people experiencing homelessness in Nashville."