We need your help for emergency shelters

When inclement weather hits the city, our unhoused friends have nowhere to go. That’s when we need you the most. Here are some upcoming needs this week:

Canvassing: Wednesday, February 10 THROUGH Saturday, February 13, 7-10pm

Help our staff and volunteers bring supplies to our unhoused friends sleeping in tents and non-permanent shelters. Email Samuel to help.


Saturday, February 13
Belmont United Methodist Church in Hillsboro Village

Needs:

  • Prepared breakfast for 50 [to be delivered on Saturday evening]
  • 2-3 Inn keepers for overnight 9pm-8am [overnight shift]
  • 2 people to help clean up on Sunday from 6 am until 8 am [2 hour shift]

Will you say YES? Click on the button below to email Sophia to sign up

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2015 year in review

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Here’s a little bit of what we were up to in 2015. . .

Unique outreach calls responded to: 5,863
Emergency meals and food boxes delivered: 429
Meetings with friends to work toward housing or resources: 1,592
Hospital visits: 164
Friends receiving camping supplies: 484
Bus passes given: 931
People receiving first aid care: 120
Birth certificates ordered: 111
New state IDs acquired: 44
Transport to & advocacy at appointments: 633
Donated furniture pick-ups: 79
New households receiving furniture: 170
People who attended OTN trainings or educational sessions: 2,475
Friends who entered treatment/rehab programs: 29
Overnight Resource shelters 64
Home visits with newly housed friends: 323
Total volunteer hours donated: 5,707

And finally, we moved 95 PEOPLE into permanent housing in 2015! Even amid a bleak and rapidly shrinking affordable/low-income housing market, we still housed more people than any previous year in our history. In this climate, each small victory requires our friends (and us as allies) to fight an uphill battle, every step of the way.

Going into 2016, we are desperate for landlords who accept Section 8 vouchers, who are committed to keeping Nashville affordable, and some who can be flexible with background issues as our friends try to make a fresh start. If you are such a person or have leads, please email lauren@opentablenashville.org to get connected in ending homelessness in our community.

We look around us and can’t help but give thanks for all the people who have fought alongside us –– those who have supported OTN and our friends with their time and money, cried with us on the dark days, and celebrated with us every time the light broke through again. For each of these gifts, big and small, for the beautiful people who teach us about justice and hospitality everyday, and for each person that makes this work possible, We thank you for sharing the journey.

Winter survival kits

Winter Supplies

Download this list >>

Winter is here, and that means we continue to need survival kits for outreach workers to take to camps. Our 12-15 outreach workers will each need at least 25 kits to take with them, which adds up to about 375 kits for the coming months.

Will you help us make this happen?

You can drop off items on Monday mornings, from 10:30AM-Noon at Woodbine United Methodist Church [2621 Nolensville Pike] OR at any of our resource shelters [every 2nd and 4th Fridays] from 5:30-9:30PM at the following locations:

  • Hillcrest United Methodist Church [5112 Raywood Lane]
  • Barth Vernon United Methodist Church [6200 Robertson Avenue]
  • First Church of the Nazarene [510 Woodland Street]
  • Flatrock Coffee, Tea, and More [Suite C, 2640 Nolensville Pike, Nashville]

These kits will need to contain:

  • Emergency blanket
  • Warm sleeping bags (preferably rated 10º or lower) or warm blankets
  • Tarps (8×10 or larger)
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Warm socks (wool, if possible)
  • Warm gloves
  • High protein snacks
  • Water

Other items urgently needed:

  • Thermals in all sizes
  • Waterproof windbreakers
  • 4 person tents
  • 16.4oz propane tanks
  • Heaters that take 16.4oz propane tanks
  • Cough drops, tissues, and chapstick
  • Firewood and wooden pallets

We have an Amazon Wish List for additional items >>

We are unable to pick up items, but if you’ve got questions, please contact Liz.

OTN named Best Nonprofit by the Nashville Scene

We are super excited and honored that the Nashville Scene has named us Best Nonprofit! Here’s a little excerpt:

“The organization not only helps people get into housing, it works to educate the community about cycles of poverty, and its staff members are friends to many struggling Nashvillians.”

Pick up your free copy this week, or read more, here.

Community Partner Spotlight: FYK Realty Group

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Tiffany Fykes, Real Estate Consultant

This month OTN would like to highlight one of our community partners, FYK Realty, and thank them for their committed hours of service at our Resource Shelters and their generous financial contributions. Lauren recently sat down with real estate consultant, Tiffany Fykes, to hear about their experience as OTN partners and volunteers.

LHow did you first hear about Open Table?

T: We were actively looking for an organization to partner with. We work with a lot of real estate in the Crieve Hall community, so we reached out to neighborhood leaders about non-profits in South Nashville, and a friend pointed us to Open Table.

L: How are you currently involved with OTN?

T: Our staff volunteers every month to do set-up at OTN’s housing Resource Shelters. We also contribute a welcome home kits every time we close on a house. So far this year we’ve had 80 closings, which means we’ve provided the funds for 80 welcome home kits for new residents and friends of OTN. Our goal this year is to provide one of those kits for everyone that OTN gets into permanent housing.

L: What have you enjoyed about partnering with OTN?

T: We’re passionate about helping people make good housing decisions for themselves. For us it’s not about the commission, but about helping people find a home that suits their needs and is sustainable. There is such a strong connection between our mission and yours at OTN. It just so happens that your clients or friends at OTN can’t afford a mortgage, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve housing options.

L: Have you had any experiences that stand out in your time volunteering with us?

T: We don’t get to spend as much time with OTN friends since we do the set-up at the beginning of shelter nights, but the most meaningful thing to me has been that most of us can bring our kids to help make up the beds. It’s great that 1. they love doing it, and 2. they’ll grow up with this being a normal experience. It takes away the fear built into stereotypes of people who are homeless, so now our kids can grow up without that. One night we went and OTN was celebrating someone’s birthday, so our boys got to be part of wishing her a happy birthday –– that was fun to see.

L: Is there anything you’ve learned about homelessness that you might like to share with the broader community?Fyk

T: I think it’s a mindset that has to change about our understanding of homelessness. Everybody should have a safe place; everybody should be able to stay warm in the winter. Just because there may be events from people’s past that have contributed to their loss of housing, we have no idea what those things are, and that shouldn’t keep them from having a better future. Housing shouldn’t be a consequence that gets held over someone’s head.

 

Thanks, FYK Group! For anyone else interested in volunteering at our Resource Shelters or assembling welcome home kits, contact liz@opentablenashville.org.