I’ve often wanted to create a guide for those going through homelessness. A what-to-do kind of guide for those entering the horror called homelessness with the goal of obtaining housing (most likely, years later). Nashville already has what I call the Homeless Bible: the Where To Go In Nashville book tells you every place for food, housing, medical and even dental care, but how do you get through the system and obtain housing—the real solution for ending homelessness? I use to turn to the housing section of the Where to Turn in Nashville resource guide first and start thumbing through the options. I was quickly turned off by the application fees of affordable housing complexes knowing full well I’d be turned down because of the evictions I had under my belt. After seeing many friends experience homelessness and experiencing it for myself, I’ve come to realize that there is no one way to go through homelessness. Some become homeless after addiction, prison, eviction, domestic abuse, a break up, divorce or the loss of a job. So what's the proven way to end homelessness? Well, affordable housing is the solution to ending homelessness.
Recently news feeds have been exploding with fancy graphs and all kinds of research filled with numbers. This just burns my buns. Billions are spent by federal and local governments to find a solution to the ever increasing population of homelessness. Government officials, research groups and consulting firms paid for with your tax dollars to find out the status of homelessness and the best way to solve the problem. Let me save the government billions of dollars, it’s not getting any better. The problem has been ignored for so many years that it’s now a national epidemic. Just look at homelessness in California. I have many friends out there I’ve met through the Internet and the horror stories are heartbreaking. All you have to do is open your eyes and you’ll see the same thing on any given day here in Nashville. Yes we smile and are thankful for everything, but when I’m alone I cry. I cry that the solution is so easy and yet so far. With more than 100 people dying on the streets every year just in Nashville it’s been a crisis that’s been long ignored. Yes Mayor Briley is aggressive with his new approach to affordable housing but that’s over a period of 10 years and something must be done now. I’ve seen a slight increase of MDHA waiting lists opening up, but is this because of shooting deaths or other situations? The answer is as different as the reasons one became homeless. With another homeless encampment being bulldozed to make way for the NFL draft it doesn’t sound like a the city is working well with people expereincing homelessness. I’ve always thought it rather comical that only rarely are homeless individuals on any board that deals with homelessness from Nashville to DC. How can someone sitting behind a desk all day staring at pretty graphs and data solve the homeless crisis when the only answer is housing? How can the homeless situation be properly addressed if no one on the board or in the office for that matter ever experienced homelessness? Are we becoming political pawns in the upcoming election? I guess we’ll see but, in the meantime please continue to help the homeless in Nashville and the surrounding cities. It still is takes a village.