Nashville Homeless Face Harsh Winter Weather

Posted at 8:15 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 21:15:13-05

When cold weather strikes Middle Tennessee, those who are homeless have to face the difficult reality: They may not have a warm place to sleep at night.
While the city has a Cold Weather Community Response Plan throughout the winter months, there are limited shelters open until the temperature dips below 26 degrees.
“We need places that will open their doors to help people the way they say they want to, the way they say they care.” Grodo, a Nashville area homeless man, said.
Grodo has lived in a specific encampment for years, and during that time he’s seen many people come and go.
Whenever someone arrives at the camp, he welcomes them in, and does his best to keep them warm.
Unfortunately, earlier this week, someone from the encampment had to be taken to the hospital, where he is currently fighting for his life after his organs began to fail due to the cold temperatures.
“We clothed him, gave him blankets,” Grodo explained. “Now I have to watch another friend die.”
While Grodo wishes he could have done more to save his friend, he knows there is only so much that can be done.
Open Table Nashville has worked with that specific homeless encampment for years, and when they heard their friend was in the hospital, they made sure to visit.
“We know that he will die alone if we’re not there, and I don’t want someone to die alone.” Ingrid McIntyre, executive director for Open Table Nashville said.
While visiting the man at the hospital, McIntyre couldn’t help but think that this situation could have been prevented if there were more resources for the homeless beyond temporary shelters.
“Even if they had a thousand beds, it wouldn’t be enough.” McIntyre explained. “There’s people who can’t go in; couples, pets, people with mental health issues.”
McIntyre went on to say that there is no specific plan or equation that can make helping the homeless easy, but it’s clear that more needs to be done to help the most vulnerable population in Nashville.
“We have pains, you know what I mean?” Grodo said. “We didn’t grow up in a good life, and ones that did grow up in good lives had something really bad happen to them in their lives, and they suffer from that.”
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