Nashville advocates took advantage of the Family Options Study presentation given by Dr. Beth Shinn on Aug. 21 at the Downtown Library and started a conversation of what is happening around addressing family homelessness in our city. Shinn is one of the lead researchers of this new long-term study HUD released last month.
Will Connelly, director of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, spoke about the difficulties for people to find landlords accepting housing subsidies in form of housing choice (Section 8) or VASH vouchers.
502 (20%) of the 2,558 housing vouchers issued in Nashville during the past year expired because people who held a voucher were unable find a landlord to rent to them. Vouchers expired after 120 days and the voucher holder usually has to reapply for the subsidy.
The lack of rent opportunities for families was also an issue addressed by Jennifer Reason of Safe Haven Family Shelter and Matt Preston of Catholic Charities. The two organizations partner with United Way on the Siemer project providing case management and support services for families who struggle with housing instability and homelessness.
More affordable housing for low-income renters is the solution. In the meantime, How’s Nashville partners are calling on landlords to partner with them and accept housing vouchers. In return, How’s Nashville will help pay with move-in costs, and partner agencies link people with available support services to help them transition from their housing crisis to being long-term renters.