Commission believes Nashville’s homeless population is up and growing

(Photo: WKRN)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Members of the Metro Homelessness Commission call the latest report on the number of people who are homeless in Nashville extremely inaccurate.

The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency’s 2017 homeless count found that 2,337 were homeless, a slight decrease from 2016. The count also documented a 39 percent decrease in the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness.

However, the commission believes they are up–and growing.

Paula Foster with the Metro Homelessness Commission says there is no way that in one night you can account for everyone who is homeless, for a variety of reasons.

“I think we know, particularity those of us who have been in the service provision arena for many years, that the count is woefully wrong and under representative,” she explained.

Foster says the count is something that is required and tied to HUD funding, but the group believes it is time to come up with a better management and tracking system to account for the number of people living without a home.

They plan to study how other cities with a large homeless population conduct their counts.

Members of the homeless commission also say another idea they are exploring is called “continuum of care,” where various non-profit groups combine their resources so they can become a more powerful tool to help people in need.

Glenn Cranfield is the president and CEO of the Nashville Rescue Mission, one of several non-profits in Music City that would like to join that partnership.

“It is always better when people collaborate and partner together and combine their efforts, wisdom and talents to be able to combat the issue,” said Cranfield.

“Put them all together in a real continuum from transitional housing and shelters to getting into treatment programs that will help them maintain sobriety or mental health programs that can help them stabilize so they can sustain permanent housing so there is that whole continuum,” said Foster.

The idea is still in the early planning stages, but Foster says other nonprofit groups have also expressed interest in this new partnership.