New cold weather shuttles to help homeless get to shelters

homeless VO
Posted at 1:42 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 14:42:15-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time, the City of Nashville is partnering with a private transportation company, resulting in the largest Extreme Cold Weather Overflow Shelter transportation plan in the city’s history, officials said.

The recent addition of the transportation company — Mobile Solutions — has meant more people experiencing homelessness will no longer have to remain in the cold just because they don’t have a ride to the city’s cold weather overflow shelter at 3230 Brick Church Pike.

Previously, WeGo/MTA provided 350 cold weather bus passes, but individuals still had to get themselves to WeGo Central to catch the shelter bus. The bus would get them to the Room in the Inn, the Nashville Rescue Mission and the city’s overflow shelter when those facilities reached capacity.

New this year, those same passes will be allocated, but stops throughout the city have been added because of the shuttle's partner. These additional stops are in west, south and east Nashville, where there are higher concentrations of those needing shelter. The expansion means those experiencing homelessness can get a ride to WeGo Central to catch the shelter bus. Ultimately, the city is now able to better reach the homeless where they are and ensure they get to a warm and safe place for the night.

Interim Metro Homeless Impact Director Jay Servais said 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,” Servais said. “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.”

Collectively, Metro Social Services, WeGo/MTA and the Cold Weather Task force secured the expansion in time for the cold weather season.

Additionally, a free and private shuttle will be available at WeGo Central to transport individuals who have pets, due to pets not being allowed on the city bus.