Walk around Nashville and it will become evident that the city has a growing homelessness problem. How’s Nashville, a new community effort that coincides with the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, organized a Registry Week last month to help end the homeless epidemic in the city. The Registry Week is used to create an updated Vulnerability Index, which is a real-time list of who is the most vulnerable in Nashville. The information collected will be used to help the people who need housing the most.
“How’s Nashville brings together partner agencies with the goal to improve and accelerate our local housing placement process. We want to decrease the number of days it takes to move from the streets or shelter to permanent housing,” Will Connelly, director of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, said. “While the Homelessness Commission serves as the backbone organization of this new campaign, it truly is collaborative effort driven by our partners.”
You may be wondering how do you determine if a person is eligible for housing. Volunteers combed through Nashville starting early at 3am to find people who are most at risk of premature death on the streets. Factors included liver disease, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, over 60 years of age, 3 or more ER visits in the previous 3 months, and 3 or more hospital inpatient visits in the past year. Out of 469 people that were surveyed 222 were identified as vulnerable, 67 were veterans. 50 were discharged honorable and 41 made it onto the list.
The goal for the next 100 days is house 200 people by September 1, the goal is to allow 50 of the 200 people (who are veterans) to be housed, and the third goal is to raise $200,000 ($1,000 per person) for move in costs. Of all the people surveyed the top two most vulnerable fall into these two categories; the first is 66 years old, been without a home for 35 years, Vietnam veteran, honorable discharge, 3 ER visits in 3 months, 3 inpatient past year, kidney disease, cancer, drinks alcohol everyday and likely has DX of mental illness.
The second is 48 years old, 3 years of homelessness, kidney disease, HIV/ AIDS, cancer, asthma, Hepatitis C, brain injury, no heath insurance, and no income other than food stamps. Now weather or not this will actually work is still yet to be seen. Since the meeting so far only two men who have experienced long term homelessness have been moved into homes, leaving 198.
Can How’s Nashville can come through on their word and house all 200 people by September? Its June now, 3 month remaining….the community is watching.