Zero deaths reported in Metro unhoused community following arctic blast

Posted at 3:34 PM, Dec 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-26 18:39:19-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dangerously cold temperatures last week put a strain on the unhoused community. But as of Monday, the city confirms there have been no deaths.

The efforts to protect Nashville’s unhoused community during the harsh weather started weeks ago. A lot of planning went into making sure they were staying safe, and had the resources needed to survive through the city and local nonprofits.

People Loving Nashville serves over 100 in the unhoused community every Monday at War Memorial Plaza. Dozens of volunteers have spent weeks handing out coats, blankets, tents and propane tanks in preparation.

Joey Godinho with PLN said the community they serve is much more than just faces, they’re friends.

“Just a warm smile can change someone’s day," he said.

Getting their friends prepared for the arctic blast took a village and a lot of donations.

“I think it comes with a team effort, the city and all the outreach organizations coming together to do their part to keep our friends safe," he said.

Once the temps dropped, warm shelter was first available at Room in the Inn and Nashville Rescue Mission. Once those shelters were full, people were directed to Metro’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.

Metro Social Services said getting people there took dozens of volunteers. They partnered with the nonprofit Hands on Nashville for the first time to meet that need. Volunteers worked to direct people at the WeGo Bus Depot and provided transportation to the shelter.

In turn, each day the city saw an increasing number of people getting out of the cold and into warmth.

“If everyone can do a small part, we can make a big difference and that’s what I saw this weekend," said Godinho.

With zero deaths reported, he knows their round-the-clock effort paid off. Now they’ll restock and get ready for when Mother Nature strikes again.

"For us it’s an answer to our prayer. Last thing we want to do is wake up to the news we lost a friend."

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