On The Rise: Nashville's Forgotten Homeless

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As Nashville continues to experience unprecedented growth there are those that the city is leaving behind: thousands of homeless people who have found it impossible to find affordable housing.

Although it is hard to get an exact figure, officials estimate there are close to 3,000 homeless people living in Music City right now, and as more and more people move to the "It City," that number only continues to climb.

As a result, small tent cities have started popping up, populated by those who either can't find a place in a shelter or have chosen not to go to one.

"We're just down on our luck. Don't look down on us because we're down on our luck," said Georgia who NewsChannel 5 found living in a small tent city underneath an overpass in East Nashville.

"Never say this could never be you," she added.

The situation has gotten so dire for some of Georgia's neighbors that they've erected a small spray painted sign with the words "Help Us" on it, in large red letters.

"I think these people are hugely forgotten. I think they're forgotten because the stigma in America is if you're homeless, you're lazy," said Sherri Nicholson, the found of Yaipak Outreach, a group that regularly travels to homeless camps around the city handing out donated supplies.

Nicholson said the city isn't doing enough to help those who have found themselves pushed out by rising rent prices or unanticipated life circumstances. There are so many low-income and homeless people in the city right now that affordable housing complexes often have waiting lists that are months long.

"If they aren't going to house these people right now, then meet them where they are. Bring out some dumpsters to these homeless camps. Provide them with sanitation. Take people on the ground level and see what these people need," Nicholson said.

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