Home means different things to different people, but at its core, home is that place we land at the end of the day that supports us, provides us safety and shelter, and gives us a place to belong. Particularly during the holidays — there’s no place like home. It has been our joy to watch the power of “home” transform the lives of so many of our friends this year.
Lauren met Brian in the spring of 2015 when he knocked on her door one Saturday afternoon. He had been bouncing between shelters and boarding houses for several years, struggling with addiction and a disability. Together they worked through several barriers to get him approved for a housing voucher, but just when he was on the edge of moving into a new apartment, he was arrested on an old warrant he didn’t know about while visiting family out of town for the holidays. He was pressured to take a plea bargain and spent several months in jail. When he got out, they had to start the housing process again at square one, but Brian put in the hard work to turn his life around. This January will mark his one-year anniversary at home. He has been a model tenant and one of our most dedicated volunteers. “I’m so glad I met Open Table Nashville,” Brian says, “We’re like family. I’m glad to be in my home now and staying out of trouble. Without my friends there, I don’t know where I’d be. God has been good to send them into my life.”
When Lindsey met Jerry, he was staying in a tent in the woods and was in and out of the hospital nearly every week with severe health problems. He was 67 years old, had been on the streets since 1986, and desperately needed someone to help him find a home. Lindsey helped him get his documents and fill out housing applications and after several denials from landlords, Jerry was finally approved to move into an apartment in South Nashville. He has been home for over a year, has reconnected with his daughter and family members, has a nurse who comes every week, and donates monthly to two nonprofits. “It’s been a miracle,” Jerry says. “If it wasn’t for God and Open Table Nashville, I wouldn’t have a home. I’m so happy here, it’s a much better life. To have a place that my family can visit is a beautiful thing. I thank God every day.”
In June, Becca received a call from Allison who was looking for a home for herself and her one-year-old daughter Juliette. Allison had overcome an addiction and was working hard to provide stability for her daughter. Due to the high cost of housing in Nashville and Allison’s limited income as a single mom trying to both work and care for her daughter, housing in Nashville seemed hopeless and unattainable. Becca got creative in her search for housing and was able to find an affordable sustainable option for Allison in Portland, TN (thankfully Allison has a car!). Drawing on OTN’s strong community partnerships, Becca referred Allison to financial supports covering part of her move-in costs; thanks to our community donors who support our work, Open Table Nashville was able to pay the remaining move-in costs – Allison’s last hurdle to getting into a home. In July, Allison and baby Juliette moved into their very own apartment, where they still reside today! Allison had no belongings when she moved in, but received a Welcome Home kit from us to make her new apartment feel like home. We are so happy for Allison and Juliette, and so grateful for the community collaborations that enabled us to offer her the support she needed to be in her own home and provide Juliette with the stability and security that every mother wishes for her child.
Thankfully, our friends Brian, Jerry, Allison, & baby Juliette have homes now.
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We are ever grateful for you and the many ways you support us!
Your Open Table Nashville Family,