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A big thank you to Gail and her supporters!

The Tennessean and Music City Center hosted a luncheon yesterday in honor of Gail Kerr, the beloved columnist who passed away this March.

Gail had worked on an idea to support the How’s Nashville campaign. She wanted to reach out to the community and challenge her readers to help raise $10,000 to house 10 people who have experienced chronic homelessness. The money raised would go to the How’s Nashville campaign and pay for move-in costs including security deposits, first month’s rent, utility deposits, and some furniture and household goods.

Unfortunately, Gail suddenly passed away before the launch of her campaign. The Tennessean under the leadership of editor Maria De Varenne partnered with Les Kerr and together they launched Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund, a time-limited campaign that implements what Gail had envisioned.

At yesterday’s luncheon, How’s Nashville partners were surprised to learn that a total of $49,635 was raised with Les Kerr writing a check to make it an even $50,000.

Thank you to all the donors who stepped up to honor Gail Kerr’s memory in such a big way. And thank you to all the How’s Nashville supporters – donors, landlords, and partner agencies.

How’s Nashville is becoming what it set out to be – a campaign embraced by our entire community.

We, our partners, prove that when we come together as a community, we can do anything. Let’s continue to house our most vulnerable neighbors – individuals and families who struggle with homelessness.

You can still contribute to Gail’s efforts to house the homeless. If you would like to donate, please follow the instructions on our donations page.

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One year ago…

Today, one year ago, How’s Nashville was born.

Many of you will recall how we gathered in the Downtown Public Library to announce the results of our three-day Registry Week.

We set a goal of housing 200 people in 100 days. In the end, we assisted 189 people with permanent supportive housing. In the process, we learned a lot, strengthened our partnerships, and increased Nashville’s housing placement rate significantly. Our efforts were featured on 60 Minutes (which is planning to re-air the segment on June 15!)

As we are moving along towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness, we are trying new approaches in the hopes to create a sustainable, community-wide effort. As such, we implemented a Coordinated Entry System (CES), which we hope to expand in the coming months.

How’s Nashville is all about bringing our community together to work on a common goal – ending chronic homelessness. It is not an easy path, but together we learn what works and what doesn’t. Our cause was picked up by the late Tennessean Columnist Gail Kerr. If you’d like to support Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund in her honor, you can still make an online contribution to the Community Foundation (the fund will be closing in about a month). Proceeds will benefit the work of the How’s Nashville partners.

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Housing Navigators

If you follow the How’s Nashville campaign regularly, you may have heard the term “Housing Navigator” and wonder what that role entails.

How’s Nashville Housing Navigators are frontline service providers who walk alongside a person who has experienced homelessness for a long time and is considered vulnerable. The role of the Housing Navigator is to assist people on removing barriers to housing, help them get their documents together that they will need before being able to rent an apartment, advocate for them, link them to health and other services in our city, and generally provide support and encouragement along the way.

Housing Navigators meet every two weeks to discuss how to assist people and exchange ideas about available resources for the people they serve. It is all about the How’s Nashville partnerships, the collaborative spirit, that we have created in our community.

In short, the How’s Nashville campaign simply would not exist without the dedication, passion, and care of our Housing Navigators.

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Community-wide Housing Numbers

How’s Nashville is coming up on its one-year anniversary in June.

We have been reporting on a monthly basis on the housing numbers, which are community-wide numbers of people who have experienced chronic homelessness and/or were identified as being vulnerable and have been assisted with permanent housing opportunities.

To date:

  • 471 people have moved into housing between June 2013 and April 1, 2014 (47 per month);
  • 142 Section 8 housing vouchers have been assigned by MDHA through the How’s Nashville effort;
  • 99 of these vouchers have been leased (70% of the people with vouchers in hand are housed, the remaining 30% are still looking for landlords);
  • 97 of the 99 vouchers are still active (one was lost because a person died; the other was revoked).
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Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund

After a brief hiatus, we are back and will continue our weekly blog entries.

If you have missed the honor we received in the past couple of weeks from Les Kerr and the Tennessean, here is what’s happening:

Gail Kerr, the beloved Tennessean columnist who passed away on March 26, has wanted to support the How’s Nashville effort by endorsing it through her column. The Tennessean and Gail’s husband Les Kerr picked up her idea and felt it was the right way to honor her memory.

Please read more at Les Kerr’s blog.

You can still contribute to Gail’s efforts. If you would like to donate, please follow the instructions on our donations page.

We are humbled and honored.

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How’s Nashville: Updates on All Fronts

Here is what’s happening in How’s Nashville:

  • We are working hard on the implementation of our new Central Entry System (CES) and have made our first housing match!
  • In the meantime, one of the lead brains behind our How’s Nashville movement, Metropolitan Homelessness Commission’s director Will Connelly, has been recognized as the Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 honorees for 2013. This means that our city is recognizing Will’s efforts and acknowledging the results our How’s Nashville partners have achieved this past few months!
  • We just finished our Friday Case Conferencing meeting where we discuss people who are most vulnerable in our community and how to best assist them as we move them towards housing.
  • And… today “Dr. John” just signed his lease and as we type this, he is moving into his own apartment. “Dr. John” has experienced chronic homelessness and is one of the people who proves that we need to keep in touch with every person who is still un-housed and work towards housing.

This is what it’s all about. Thank you “Dr. John” for your hard work and congratulations to your move-in!

We can do this, How’s Nashville! Thank you to all our partners!