Metro wants to open shelters when temperatures hit the freezing mark

Winter ice, Nashville Airport runway
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hundreds of people have and will continue sleep on the streets in the cold this year.

Some Metro Council members are working to open temporary shelters when the temperatures get to or below freezing.

Last year, Nashville opened a temporary shelter when the temperatures dropped to 25 degrees or below.

Metro Councilman-At-Large Jim Shulman and Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy co-sponsored a bill that would allow Metro to open shelters when the temperatures reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

At the Metro Council meeting Tuesday, Shulman said the city has not agreed to open a metro-operated shelter at 32 degrees or below.
Instead, two shelters that Metro partners with have agreed to increase their capacity.

Starting Jan. 3, Room in the Inn will open their day room at night, accommodating 80 additional people.

The Nashville Rescue Mission will also open an additional 30 beds.

Still, many people experiencing homeless said they would like to have a warm, safe place to stay when it’s freezing outside.

“You can’t imagine it’s so cold that your feet is numb and you can’t sleep,” said Ladaris Smith. “You shiver and even when you try to warm your body with your breath it’s excruciating. It’s bad.”

Some people would like to see a shelter open above freezing because sleeping in the cold is putting your life on the line.

“Between 30 and 40, it would be a nice place to have,” said homeless veteran James Walker. “To be able to go somewhere.“

Metro has agreed to open a shelter at 25 degrees or below until Jan. 3 like they did last year while they continue to work to decide what to do after the Jan. 3 date.