A homeless encampment with 20 inhabitants in East Nashville is slated to be vacated by Aug. 14 so it can be cleared the day after. The camp, which is located near the TA Truck Stop north of Titans Stadium, has been established for at least a decade, if not longer.
In early June, Metro Nashville Police Department Sgt. Michael Fisher sent an email to outreach workers and the Metro Homelessness Commission letting them know the area would need to be vacated because of construction happening on the property.
“I was contacted by an agent with CSX Police yesterday who advised me that there is a large construction project beginning in the area of the homeless camp along lower Ellington Parkway near the Spring Street overpass here in the East Precinct,” Fisher wrote. “ ... Essentially that area, which has been well hidden, will be wide open to public view.”
The email also says campers were asked months before the June 8 email to leave the property.
Photos: Open Table Nashville
Advocates plan to ask for an extension to give the people living there time to find housing — a task becoming more and more difficult in the growing city.
“There are about 20 people that we know of living there on the property still,” says nonprofit Open Table Nashville’s Lindsey Krinks. “We’ve already gotten two into housing and we’re working on two more this week. Ideally we’d want enough time to find everyone there real and lasting housing solutions before everyone gets moved again.”
In the email from Fisher, who oversees community affairs for the East Precinct, he outlined some areas where outreach workers should not attempt to relocate campers, which Krinks says is part of the problem in trying to find new places for people to go if they don’t have housing. In outlining these areas, Fisher says he’s attempting to keep anyone who might attempt to move to them out of trouble.
“Our issue is, the more we limit these places, the less places we have for people to go,” Krinks says. “It makes it hard when we’re constantly relocating people.”
One area in particular near Marina Manor Apartments is part owned by Metro Parks and is part owned by an apartment management company called Ghertner.
“After receiving a slew of complaints from area residents regarding the encampments in that area, Metro Parks and I worked to get those occupants relocated some time back,” Fisher wrote. “However, the stance of parks as well as Ghertner stands in that this area cannot be used for encampments.”
According to the email, Ghertner also obtained a no trespass waiver for the portion of land they own, and have asked MNPD to enforce trespassing offenses on their property. Other areas noted by Fisher are in a similar situation.
“In the end, due to the rapid development in the East Nashville area it is simply impossible for an encampment to spring up along Ellington that is not going to quickly attract attention,” Fisher wrote. “Please do not allow any of the outreach services assist this population to relocate anywhere along the Ellington Pkwy corridor.”