More than 70 community leaders representing the housing, nonprofit, business, faith, and political sectors filled the seats at the Nashville Downtown Partnership on Tuesday, February 26, to kick-off a local housing campaign.
Metropolitan Homelessness Commission Director Will Connelly said the overall goal of this campaign was to increase access to permanent supportive housing for individuals and families experiencing long-term homelessness in Davidson County.
Linda Kaufman, national field organizer of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, provided a national framework for this grassroots, local approach. The 100,000 Homes campaign, facilitated by Community Solutions, aims to house 100,000 chronic and medically vulnerable homeless Americans by July 2014. Currently approximately 184 communities across the nation participate in the 100,000 Homes Campaign. “We are one third there,” Kaufman said, adding the campaign asks communities to house about 2.5% of their vulnerable and chronic homeless population each month.
Memphis 100 is one such grassroots program launched in fall 2012 by the Community Alliance for the Homeless and the Creating Homes Initiative. The West Tennessee community wants to house 100 of the most vulnerable individuals by April 2013. Chere’ Bradshaw, housing facilitator for behavioral health initiatives in Memphis, said Memphis 100 was on target.
As of now, both the national and the Memphis campaigns are on track. Connelly’s goal is to get Nashville’s community on board and replicate other cities’ success. His approach focuses on identifying
1. Building a Nashville campaign team;
2. Clarifying demand that stakeholders can agree on;
3. Lining up supply in a coordinated effort;
4. Moving people into housing; and
5. Helping people remain in housing.
The role of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission is to serve as the backbone of the campaign. More specifically, the Commission will coordinate local efforts under the guidance of a steering committee that includes community leaders. At this point, Connelly is working to put together that steering committee and create different work groups.
One of the first activities Nashville is going to engage in is organizing a registry week, which is an initiative promoted by the 100,000 Homes Campaign. Registry week is a methodology that systematically develops a registry of rough sleepers in a community. It allows for service providers to focus on housing the most vulnerable individuals and families who are at risk of dying.
Please stay tuned to follow the Nashville Homes Campaign’s weekly blog, which aims to give regular progress updates of the campaign.
For material that was presented at the campaign’s kick-off event on February 26, please click here.
For a two-minute summary of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, click here.