To say that affordable housing is a big issue for Nashville would be an understatement. Recent years have seen unprecedented growth in high-end condo development, gentrification of many of the older neighborhoods and housing projects near downtown, and record numbers of Nashvillians ending up on the streets.
Tent City is a homeless encampment off of Hermitage Avenue where dozens of Nashville’s homeless have found a makeshift place to land for decades. Though Metro has been making plans to shut it down for a while now, a Labor Day weekend stabbing drew even more attention to the problems there. Now with the closure deadline looming, members of activist group Nashville Homeless Power Project and other area advocates are looking to make a loud statement to Mayor Dean and city officials, pointing out that other cities have worked with the Tent City structure (via Chris Wage) to keep it legal, beneficial and safe:
Did you know that in 2006 there were over 11,522 homeless right here in Nashville? That over 30% are veterans? And over 1800 of our homeless are school-aged children? And that there are not anywhere near enough temporary shelter beds or housing? So why are we destroying a homeless encampment that has served many until they can move on? Why can’t we, instead, work to improve this encampment and see Tent City as a “passing through place” until we can help these, our neighbors, move to something better?
More than 100 people are planning to meet and rally at the Metro Courthouse from 3pm to 5pm this afternoon where they’ll be participating in a “very unique and compelling activity” to get their point across. They just ask that you bring yourself and a key (yes, a key). And well, we’ve gotta admit we’re curious. If you make it down there, be sure to snap a few photos and let us know how it goes.
UPDATE [8:34 a.m.] – The Tennessean reports that Tent City closing deadline has been moved back yet again. Though the rally at the Courthouse will still take place, organizers say it will be focusing instead on Mayor Dean’s “collaboration, kindness, and good nature.” (h/t Christy N.)
Photo by nelsonminmar.
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