FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a $250 thousand donation, the Williamson County Homeless Alliance said they are getting closer to building a permanent shelter in Franklin.
"People say we don't have homelessness here because we're a wealthy county," Kevin Riggs of the Homeless Alliance said. "Franklin and Williamson County has its own homeless problem."
Riggs said this summer, for the first time, the alliance started hosting an emergency shelter over the summer. The shelter, housed inside a local church, was often full when temperatures were in the 90s.
"The nights we have 13, 14 or 15 people, some people are sleeping on air mattresses," Riggs said.
Riggs estimated there are 750 to 1,000 people who are struggling with homelessness in Williamson County.
Even though the group has been serving Williamson County's homeless for years, they have never had a permanent shelter. That's something that Riggs said could have a tremendous impact on their mission.
"[The emergency shelters] are only open from seven at night to seven in the morning," Riggs explained. "So in the morning it's like, 'we'll see you later,' and you don't have the ability to give the long term help"
But he said that could soon change, thanks to a major act of kindness earlier this month.
"The donation was $250 thousand and that's significant for us," Riggs said. That donation came from a Franklin resident, who wanted to give the money in honor of her grandfather.
"I was speechless for a little while, but I got my composure back quickly and told her how much I appreciate it...and how it would help us start looking for a permanent location," Riggs said. "What we thought was years away, now could be a year-and-a-half away."
If you would like to help with the WIlliamson County Homeless Alliance's mission, you can contact Kevin Riggs at email@example.com.