Open Table Nashville is committed to relational outreach. People are not numbers in a data sheet but our friends we journey with. We seek to create a community with our friends to develop stability that moves people into housing first. OTN. does not assume to know what people need. But rather to stand in solidarity with our community.
This solidarity takes a myriad of shapes. The most notable are being a consistent presence in the homeless community, advocating with the marginalized, and creatively networking available resources.
Our day-to-day outreach activities start with meeting people where they are—geographically, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—in order to form trusting relationships. From there, we help folks navigate complex social services systems so they can obtain needed resources like ID/driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, SNAP benefits, transportation, clothing, camping supplies, mental & physical health care, employment, substance abuse treatment, counseling, and transitional and permanent housing.
We work from our cars, in downtown areas, at camps, inside hospitals, in many of our partner places of worship, or anywhere else we find people struggling with housing insecurity. Meeting people where they are in this work demands full flexibility. That’s why our philosophy directs us toward seeing people not as clients but as our friends. Going above and beyond for a client is too much to ask. But when our friends need us, we come running.
One of the most important parts of our outreach program is our winter canvassing. During the winter months, OTN puts extra time, care, and attention on the safety and survival of our friends. For over a decade, OTN has been on the frontlines of winter canvassing. An effort to inform and support people sleeping overnight in the streets about the best ways to stay warm and make it to the next morning. If you would like to learn more about these efforts or even volunteer please follow this link.
Because we spend so much time in the field and seek to focus our attention on those who fall through the cracks of other services, we aren’t often able to take many referrals for housing navigation from other agencies. However, we are always happy to brainstorm options and resources at our Resource Line.