Volunteers work overnight to count Nashville's homeless

Posted at 2:54 AM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 03:54:34-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — While most people in Nashville were sleeping, a group make up of a few dozen volunteers hit the streets to check on our city's most vulnerable population: the homeless.

The Metro Homeless Impact Division of Social Services organized this year's count of the homeless population. The group met at 9:00p.m. Tuesday to spend the next several hours of the night walking the streets and getting a count of how many homeless people are living on the streets of Nashville.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires cities to do counts like these annually.

"Locally we look at getting a better feel of what are thee demographics of the people we are serving. What are the issues that people tell us about that we need to plan to address with them? And how can we link people to services?" said Judith Tackett, the Director of the Homeless Impact Division.

Last year, Tackett said the group counted 2,300 homeless people in Nashville. She said that number has held steady over the past few years. The ultimate goal is to make relationships with people and get them resources to find housing.

Tackett said this outreach is very important and requires some preparation.

"We have trained outreach workers who go out with volunteers," Tackett said. "They scan the area days ahead of time to get a feel of where people are going to be. We engage people, we do surveys to get more information from people about them. It's not names, but it's demographics so we get a better picture what homelessness looks like now."