NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville will now have two overflow shelters as temperatures dip below freezing overnight.
The second location in East Nashville is a collaboration with The Salvation Army but serves as a backup once all other shelters reach capacity.
Organizers say they’re still in need of volunteers to work through midnight and then again from midnight until 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Volunteers will help staff and guests at the shelter. All volunteers are encouraged to be vaccinated before offering their time.
If you’re available, you can register by clicking on this link.
Any place you escape the cold could likely be called a shelter. What makes things different at places like Room in the Inn is how the shelter is just the beginning.
Amanda Jones Fernandez is one of the lead managers. It’s her job to make sure people have everything they need to brave the cold. Sometimes that means offering coats, gloves, and scarves. Other times it may just mean pointing people in the right direction.
“One of the greatest needs that we have is for people to be directed to Room in the Inn and the Rescue Mission,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez coordinates with churches across Middle Tennessee to bring those seeking shelter to her shelter. She says Thursday’s snowfall meant many of them couldn’t make the trip.
“Our numbers have reduced over the past couple of days. They’ve been in flux, however, the congregations are doing all they can to get here,” Fernandez said.
If they reach capacity along with the Nashville Mission, Fernandez recommends people to now one of two overflow shelters.
The first is 3230 Brick Church Pike which is a rare moment, has been open all hours of the day since Wednesday. Metro city leaders say they made the change once they realized temperatures stayed consistently cold during the day as they did in the evening. They plan to keep the overflow shelter open until at least Saturday morning.
“It’s important that our neighbors are sheltered so we can continue to exist in a community with one another. We are not accustomed to things like snowstorms and unexpected weather. We have to make sure that our neighbors survive with us on the other side of this,” Fernandez said.
Anyone in search of transportation to these shelters can head over to WeGo’s downtown hub for a ride. Mobility Solutions have also partnered with WeGo to make pickups in several locations across the Metro. The expansion means those experiencing homelessness can get a ride to WeGo Central to catch the shelter bus.
Interim Metro Homeless Impact Director Jay Servais says the expansion of the transportation service has been a critical missing piece to keeping safe some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“Sleeping in the cold is brutal and dangerous. This is an intentional effort to better meet the needs of our houseless loved ones,” said Servais. “This is also one of the many ways the city is aggressively and proactively working with community partners to provide support to those who need our tender care.