How was the property at Glencliff UMC chosen as the location for the Village at Glencliff?
Glencliff United Methodist Church (GUMC) members saw an opportunity to partner with Open Table Nashville (OTN) and offer the use of a portion of their land (which not many urban churches have) as a way to live out their faith in response to the housing crisis in Nashville. They made the decision to be in ministry with people experiencing homelessness. Providing medical respite and bridge housing for our most vulnerable friends is a ministry supported by The United Methodist Church. OTN has had their offices in Woodbine UMC and later Glencliff UMC. A natural relationship formed out of sharing space together. After the decision was made for GUMC to participate in the Village at Glencliff with OTN, another UMC that was closing (because of gentrification) decided to join with the members of Glencliff in their space specifically because of their dedication to radical hospitality.
Have you communicated with neighbors?
During the fall of 2016, OTN had conversations with the pastor of Glencliff United Methodist Church to determine if the church might have an interest in partnering with OTN on a micro home village to provide medical respite/ bridge housing for our most vulnerable friends experiencing homelessness.
OTN was asked to make a presentation to all church members in December 2016. Most church members are also neighborhood residents. There were a lot of conversations within the church community, and a specific meeting for neighbors and members. Following OTN’s presentation, church members voted the next day to move forward with OTN on a partnership to build the Village at Glencliff.
What has happened since the church voted to join OTN in partnership on the Village?
Following their vote, staff from OTN reached out to Metro Planning to seek guidance on how to proceed and sent a letter on December 19, 2016 to Council Member Mike Freeman, Vice Mayor David Briley, and Mayor Megan Barry to inform them of our progress (this was not our first communication with metro). During January, we followed steps outlined by Metro Codes Administration to seek approval from Metro government to construct the Village at Glencliff.
On February 15, OTN was notified by the Metro Planning Office that our request was approved and we could begin the planning process for the Village at Glencliff. We scheduled our second community meeting at that time which was held on March 5.
What is Councilman Freeman’s role in this project?
Mike Freeman was elected by the 16th District to represent constituents through his role on the Metro Council. He has been in conversations with both neighbors and Open Table Nashville regarding OTN constructing the Village at Glencliff on church land. OTN has not asked Mr. Freeman to speak out publicly in support of the Village at Glencliff.
What will be the role of the neighbors/community with the Village?
After the last community meeting, a community group was formed to meet regularly. The group was to be comprised of 2 people from each neighborhood group within the 16th District, the executive director of OTN and the Village Care Coordinator. There was not sufficient interest in participation and the group discontinued meeting.
There will also be opportunities for neighborhood residents to volunteer at the Village and participate in providing meals, programming, and building community.
What is RLUIPA?
The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), is a United States federal law that gives churches and other religious institutions a way to use their property for reasons outlined in their discipline of faith. It does not give the church “carte blanche” to do whatever it wants. RLUIPA was enacted by the United States Congress in 2000.
Does OTN have experience and history in housing the homeless?
In 2010, Open Table Nashville was launched as an interfaith 501 c 3 non-profit community.
We focus on housing, education and advocacy. This past year, we served over 2,000 individuals and families who were chronically homeless and medically vulnerable. We have successfully moved over 800 people into permanent affordable housing since 2010. We also provide significant leadership that goes into collaborating with over 80 other resource agencies throughout Davidson County in a coordinated effort to end chronic homelessness in Nashville, including serving on the board of the Metro Homelessness Impact Division (formerly the Homeless Commission).
Who will live at the Village at Glencliff?
We will house the most medically vulnerable people experiencing homelessness who have no other options for recovery. The Vulnerability Index (VI), a nationally recognized tool to measure vulnerability of people experiencing homelessness, is taken by each person we work with. Residents of the Village will be people who are currently receiving hospital care and will be referred to us by hospital partners. It will be for people who are most likely to die on the streets to find respite until permanent, sustainable, supportive housing can be identified.
The Village will be a place where people can recover “at home”—instead of on the streets. During their recovery process, OTN and medical partners will work with each person to secure permanent supportive housing. They will live in the Village as long as they are actively working with our Care Coordinator to make that transition.
Occupancy will be limited to one person per unit, with the exception of the three units that are 400 square feet, which will house two people per unit and help avoid having to break up couples during recovery of one or both partners.
Will there be staff on site?
Yes. A Care Coordinator will be on site weekdays, 8 hours a day. The OTN and GUMC offices are also on campus. Additionally, there will be medical staff available and a host of community partners working together to share resources and build community.
Will the Village be a holistic program?
Yes, it will be a holistic site. In addition to having an on-site Care Coordinator (5 days a week), we will partner with nurses, counselors and other healthcare providers to provide various programs with residents such as 12 Step Programs and Physical and Mental Wellness Programs.
In addition, we will work with residents to navigate the permanent housing process with our on-site Care Coordinator.
What type of security is planned for the Village at Glencliff?
In our experience, we have seen our friends—particularly the most vulnerable—preyed upon. Therefore, our security awareness will be for both residents and neighbors. Each unit will have doors that lock for residents’ safety and the safety of their belongings. We plan to contract with security professionals for patrolling the area on weekends and after hours. We will have an on-site Care Coordinator 40 hours a week, a nurse 3 days a week, and 2 security poles (campus style) in each phase. We have been securing bids from various security companies about further security options and will be meeting with the neighborhood representatives as developments progress. The South Precinct of the Metro Nashville Police Department has also been in meetings about how they can participate in the health of our community.
Will pets be allowed at the Village at Glencliff?
Yes. OTN works with other agencies to ensure all pets are vaccinated, spayed and neutered. Residents will follow Metro’s rules of keeping pets in their space or on leashes. We will accept people with pets, but we will not allow residents to acquire pets after they move in.
Will tents be allowed in the Village? Will camping be allowed?
No. Tents and camping will not be allowed on Village grounds. This is a community of microhomes.
Will residents be screened for approval?
Yes. In addition to utilizing the Vulnerability Index (VI) and working together with our hospital partners to determine who will be good candidates for The Village at Glencliff, we are also working with our team of highly qualified staff as well as consulting with other organizations that work with vulnerable and homeless populations to establish a comprehensive screening process that will incorporate best practices and specific benchmarks and metrics to determine who we choose to accept into the program. No one will be allowed to stay at the Village whose identity we cannot verify.
Will people on the sex offender registry, violent offenders and people with a history of criminal and/or mental instability be allowed to move into the Village?
Because the Village will be located on church land, people on the sex offender registry (from any state) legally cannot utilize this community resource as an option. All residents will have access to the resources needed to attend to mental and physical illness. Our team is also trained in de-escalation, trauma informed care and MI which is helpful in any situation.
How is the Village funded?
Open Table Nashville accepts private donations for development of the Village and for annual operating costs. No government funds or tax dollars will be used to support the Village or any OTN activity. Many interfaith based organizations, companies, private foundations and individuals have contributed funds and in-kind donations to support the Village.
Will OTN be adding more homes after Phase One and Phase Two are completed?
There are no plans to build more than 22 homes on the land at this time.
What type of transportation will be provided for the residents?
Beginning April 1, 2017, MTA will offer bus service from 100 Oaks to Glastonbury. Those residents who may be receiving Medicaid are eligible as a part of their benefits for free transportation to and from medical appointments. OTN also has transportation that we frequently use to take our friends to medical appointments, housing meetings, etc.