Nashville, Tennessee: Homelessness at record levels despite pledges from politicians and business leaders
23 December 2017
Despite pledges by Nashville city officials to reduce homelessness, the number of homeless rises every year, and so do their deaths. But that’s not how the city’s former mayor and now Democratic candidate for governor of Tennessee would like you to think of it.
In a 2013 puff piece titled “Why Nashville’s Solution to Homelessness is a Model for other cities.” in Mic.com, then Nashville mayor Karl Dean touted a public/private program he pledged would reduce homelessness.
“This effort truly shows how government, nonprofits, and the business community can work together to make progress on reducing homelessness,” Dean said at the time.
The Mic.Com reporter dutifully gushed, “Nashville’s story is one of hope forged by collaboration between government and the private sector. It is also a story where human compassion shines through byzantine layers of bureaucratic institutions.”
But there is little compassion here for the homeless and Dean’s proposed foul partnership with profit accomplished nothing.
On an average night in January 2015, there were 2,365 homeless in Nashville, with 1,124 in emergency shelters, 560 in transitional housing and 470 living on the street, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2015 Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness.
That marked an almost 5 percent increase compared to 2014-2015, putting Nashville in the top 10 cities with growing homeless populations, the Tennessean newspaper reported earlier this year.
“The numbers illustrate a homeless struggle in Nashville that has worsened even as the city prospers economically on many fronts. Rising housing and rent prices in Nashville have…