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1. Email Mayor Cooper and other city leaders today! A sample email is below:

TO: mayor@nashville.gov, mary.falls@nashville.gov, jim.shulman@nashville.gov, jay.servais@nashville.gov, michael.caldwell@nashville.gov
SUBJECT: ACT NOW! Homelessness and COVID-19

Dear Mayor Cooper, Vice Mayor Shulman, Mary Falls, Dr. Michael Caldwell, and Chief Servais,

We are facing a dire public health crisis and must act now to ensure the safety of all Nashvillians, including people who are experiencing homelessness. Our neighbors without housing are often forced to congregate in groups to receive basic services like food and shelter. Many also have substantial health problems that cause them to be immunocompromised which creates a higher likelihood that they will need hospitalization. If they become infected with COVID-19, not only will the spread of the virus be difficult to contain, but it will also put further strain on critical hospital and ICU capacity in Nashville. We are deeply concerned about the health and wellbeing of our unhoused neighbors, our shelter systems, and the wellbeing of the larger community. We are all interconnected. For these reasons, we need your action now on these items:

  1. Make immediate emergency funds from Metro available to rent or purchase a facility that contains individualized rooms for people who show symptoms of COVID-19 and/or are awaiting test results. Sick shelters and facilities for isolation do not need to be housed in open spaces like Municipal Auditorium or the Fairgrounds where proper containment and distancing protocols cannot be followed and the safety of the guests cannot be ensured. Adequate facilities for sick shelters and quarantine/isolation include locations like hotels, motels, and vacant dorms or nursing homes.
  2. Create outdoor phone charging stations to allow people experiencing homelessness to call TeleHealth and emergency services and to safely remain in contact with outreach workers and other service providers. Metro should partner with businesses with outdoor power access, or look into covered, remote, solar-powered charging station options.
  3. Make the funding of affordable housing a priority in Nashville by dedicating at least $25 million to the Barnes Housing Trust Fund in this year’s budget. Not only are people are #UnsafeWithoutHomes, but national studies have shown that providing housing is ultimately less expensive than keeping people on the streets. 

We appreciate your efforts to ensure that all Nashvillians, regardless of housing status, are able to stay safe during this public health crisis.

Sincerely,
(your name)
(your address)


2. Email Governor Bill Lee and Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally today! A sample email is below:

TO: bill.lee@tn.gov, lt.gov.randy.mcnally@capitol.tn.gov, gillum.ferguson@tn.gov
SUBJECT: ACT NOW! Homelessness and COVID-19

Dear Governor Lee and Lieutenant Governor McNally,

We are facing a dire public health crisis and must act now to ensure the safety of all Tennesseans, including people who are experiencing homelessness. Our neighbors without housing are often forced to congregate in groups to receive basic services like food and shelter. Many also have substantial health problems that cause them to be immunocompromised which creates a higher likelihood that they will need hospitalization. If they become infected with COVID-19, not only will the spread of the virus be difficult to contain, but it will also put further strain on critical hospital and ICU capacity across Tennessee. We are deeply concerned about the health and wellbeing of our unhoused neighbors and the wellbeing of the larger community. We are all interconnected.

In Nashville, we have a larger concentration of people experiencing homelessness and we need your action now to make immediate emergency funds from the State available to rent or purchase a facility that contains individualized rooms for people who show symptoms of COVID-19 and/or are awaiting test results. Sick shelters and facilities for isolation do not need to be housed in open spaces like the Municipal Auditorium or the Fairgrounds (as city officials have proposed) where proper containment and distancing protocols cannot be followed and the safety of the guests cannot be ensured. Adequate facilities for sick shelters and quarantine/isolation include locations like hotels, motels, and vacant dorms or nursing homes.

We appreciate your efforts to ensure that all Tennesseans, regardless of housing status, are able to stay safe during this public health crisis.

Sincerely,
(your name)
(your address)


3. Email Metro Council members today! A sample email is below:

TO: councilmembers@nashville.gov
SUBJECT: ACT NOW! Homelessness and COVID-19

Dear Council Members,

We are facing a dire public health crisis and must act now to ensure the safety of all Nashvillians, including people who are experiencing homelessness. Our neighbors without housing are often forced to congregate in groups to receive basic services like food and shelter. Many also have substantial health problems that cause them to be immunocompromised which creates a higher likelihood that they will need hospitalization. If they become infected with COVID-19, not only will the spread of the virus be difficult to contain, but it will also put further strain on critical hospital and ICU capacity in Nashville. We are deeply concerned about the health and wellbeing of our unhoused neighbors, our shelter systems, and the wellbeing of the larger community. We are all interconnected. For these reasons, we need your action now on these items:

  1. Freeze all evictions, foreclosures, utility cut-offs (including water, electricity, internet, and cable), and the acrument of late fees and fines by continuing to encourage public entities like NES, Metro Water, and MDHA extend a grace period, a non-payment forgiveness policy, and/or a generous repayment timeline through the duration of this crisis. We also urge you to pass a resolution calling on private entities to do the same.
  2. Make the funding of affordable housing a priority in Nashville by dedicating at least $25 million to the Barnes Housing Trust Fund in this year’s budget.Housing is health care. Housing ends homelessness. Housing is a human right. Not only are people are #unsafewithouthomes, but national studies have shown that providing housing is ultimately less expensive than keeping people on the streets. 

We appreciate your efforts to ensure that all Tennesseans, regardless of housing status, are able to stay safe during this public health crisis.

Sincerely,
(your name)
(your address)


4. Donate Food and Supplies

Glencliff UMC and the Village at Glencliff are organizing food boxes that will be distributed by outreach workers across the city as safely as possible to our friends staying at camps and to our friends for whom finding food right now is hard or dangerous. All food and supply donations from the list below can be dropped off in the back of the building in Glencliff’s Fellowship Hall. They can also be shipped directly to Glencliff UMC (2901 Glencliff Rd., Nashville, TN 37211).

We’re doing our best to educate our friends on the best ways to stay safe right now and hope you can do the same in your community. Metro has created this website specifically for homeless service providers and this website of resources for people needing help.Please help us spread the word about these action steps and resources. We know that housing is health care and it is even more apparent now. 

In Solidarity, 
The OTN Team