HELP US ASK METRO COUNCIL TO INVEST IN HOUSING, NOT THE CRIMINALIZATION OF HOMELESSNESS!
Big things are happening within our community! Advocates have long been pushing for an independent entity tasked with preserving and creating affordable housing and administering resources to those experiencing homelessness. We are confident that we finally have the political will, momentum, and timing needed to make a huge structural investment in Nashville’s social service system, but we need YOUR VOICE to ensure our ask is heard by Metro Council!
Recently, Judith Tackett, Director of Metro’s Homeless Impact Division (MHID), resigned effective immediately. Our community is at a loss, as we recognize and sincerely thank Judy for her decade of service spent advocating for housing for our city’s most vulnerable.
While Nashville could maintain the status quo by simply rehiring for this position, we are asking Metro Council to instead seize this opportunity to commit to prioritizing affordable housing for all residents of Nashville by supporting Council Member Freddie O’Connell’s BL2021-971 that calls for the creation of Nashville’s first Office of Housing and Homelessness.
While these conversations around serious structural investments in Nashville’s housing and homelessness sector are happening, some in the Mayor’s Office and in Metro Council are simultaneously trying to pass a resolution that will appropriate $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan monies to Metro Parks for anti-homelessness infrastructure. RS2021-1204 would irresponsibly use these funds to purchase bobcats, excavators, and more “eye in the sky” surveillance cameras to monitor and demolish homeless encampments. Our leaders should be investing these dollars into housing and resources that will help Nashvillians thrive instead of spending money on equipment that will be used to further criminalize homelessness and displace already unhoused Nashvillians with nowhere else to go. Nashville’s own Technical Advisor through the Department of Housing and Urban Development has even denounced the dismantling of camps that this resolution, if passed, would provide funding for.
The past two years have demonstrated just how crucial housing is to the health and vitality of our communities — a place to quarantine during a pandemic, to attend virtual school, or to provide protection from deadly floods. The past two years have also demonstrated just how fleeting housing in Nashville is — be it from tornadoes or out of town developers.
We need YOUR help in order to make sure our elected officials invest in Nashville and do not misappropriate funds:
- Look up who your Metro Council Member is and their contact information online here.
- Ask them to vote YES for BL2021-971.
- Ask them to vote NO for RS2021-1204. You can use our sample email below!
SUBJECT: Vote YES for BL2021-971 and NO for RS2021-1204: Invest in Housing, Not the Criminalization of Homelessness!
TO: Your Council Member’s email here
Dear Metro Council Member,
I write to you as a concerned resident of your district to ask you to vote YES for O’Connell’s BL2021-971 calling for the creation of an independent Office of Housing and Homelessness and to vote NO for RS2021-1204 calling for the appropriation of $1.9 million in ARP monies towards anti-homelessness infrastructure.
The lack of affordable housing in our community is an injustice that affects every person, every district, and every community in some way. While Nashville could maintain the status quo, I join the community in asking you to instead seize this opportunity to prioritize affordable housing in the city of Nashville by taking these steps to create Nashville’s first Office of Housing and Homelessness.
Other major cities, including Austin, Denver, Charlotte, and San Antonio all have robust departments of housing tasked with similar duties outlined in O’Connell’s legislation. Nashville needs to create our own dedicated Office of Housing and Homelessness so that our community can have the authority and resources needed to appropriately respond to the magnitude of our affordable housing crisis.
Likewise, I also ask that you denounce the legislation that irresponsibly spends monies on cameras, bobcats, and excavators that will further criminalize homelessness and displace unhoused Nashvillians with nowhere else to go.
With over 2,000 adults experiencing literal homelessness on any given night in Nashville, nearly 4,000 MNPS students experiencing homelessness during the course of their school year, a projected deficit of over 50,000 affordable units by the year 2030, and near daily news announcements of previously affordable housing properties being purchased by out-of-town developers, I urgently ask you to use your power to invest in our community by creating an Office of Housing and Homelessness and preventing the misappropriation of funds that could instead be invested in housing.