Author Archives: wconnelly

Focus Strategies Report Evaluating Nashville’s Homelessness Response System

The following is a letter from Will Connelly, the director of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, which has released a new community report that evaluates Nashville’s current homelessness response system:

“In 2015, we hired a national consulting firm, Focus Strategies, to give our community advice on how to end homelessness.  That advice is now in the form of a final report and set of recommendations that are attached to this email. While the report is lengthy, I hope you will find time to read it in the near future.

After months of hard work with Focus Strategies, MDHA, and the Frist Foundation, the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission (MHC) is pleased to share this final report.  As the director of the MHC, I believe we can come together under a strong and unified governance structure to create a housing crisis resolution system that will effectively end homelessness in Nashville.  Ending homelessness means that no one in our community has to be without a place to live for more than 30 days.  That’s the goal, and this report is our compass.

After listening to local stakeholders and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of our system, Focus Strategies provided recommendations tailored to housing all of the people experiencing homelessness in Nashville as quickly as possible. This is an incredibly urgent task, as people continue to live and die on the streets of our city.

The Metropolitan Homelessness Commission continues to prioritize ending homelessness as an urgent community crisis. Moving forward, we are dedicated to creating a system that quickly and effectively houses our neighbors who have fallen into homelessness. We look forward to partnering with you to implement the recommendations in this report and make homelessness in Nashville rare, brief, and one-time.”

Please find the reports that were published on March 23, 2016, on our Housing Crisis Resolution System tab under the About page.

2015 Housing Placements

How’s Nashville houses 1,000 in 2015!

How’s Nashville partners assisted close to 1,000 individuals including families with children during calendar year 2015. That is 100 more people within a 12-month span than in the previous 18 months.

Beginning 2015, the How’s Nashville campaign joined the national Zero: 2016 campaign (locally called the 2016 by 2016 campaign) and focused on housing people experiencing chronic homelessness and homeless veterans during 2015. The goal is to help a total of 2,016 people obtain permanent housing by the end of 2016.

To continue to follow our progress, check our monthly housing placement reports.

Opening Doors

Opening Doors, the federal plan to end homelessness

Much of our community’s work here in Nashville, especially through the How’s Nashville campaign is aligned with the federal goals outlined in Opening Doors.

Opening Doors is a plan that outlines a comprehensive federal strategy to prevent and end homelessness. We encourage you to read up on the specific goals outlined in the plan, which include:

As part of the discussion, it is important that we all understand and agree on what ending homelessness means. To that end, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness explains what ending homelessness means the following way:

“An end to homelessness means that every community will have a systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible, or if it can’t be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.

Specifically, every community will have the capacity to:

  • Quickly identify and engage people at risk of and experiencing homelessness.
  • Intervene to prevent the loss of housing and divert people from entering the homelessness services system.
  • When homelessness does occur, provide immediate access to shelter and crisis services, without barriers to entry, while permanent stable housing and appropriate supports are being secured, and quickly connect people to housing assistance and services—tailored to their unique needs and strengths—to help them achieve and maintain stable housing.”
holiday blog

5 things to be grateful for in 2015

At year’s end, we would like to express our gratitude to everyone in our community who is part of the How’s Nashville movement:

  1. Our number one thank you always goes out to all the partners in the How’s Nashville movement who work diligently on assisting people experiencing homelessness transition from shelter or street to permanent supportive housing.
  2. All the residents and partner organizations – especially from Fairfield Inn & Suites, Downtown at the Gulch , the Community Resource Center, and the East Park Community Center – who made our monthly residents meeting a great success throughout 2015!
  3. All the landlords who worked with our partner agencies to help house 890 homeless Veterans and people experiencing chronic homelessness between January and November of 2015 (December numbers have not been calculated yet).
  4. All the donors who supported the How’s Nashville efforts by giving more than $78,000 in private funding directly to the How’s Nashville fund. This contribution does not count the numerous donations and volunteer efforts to partner agencies that diligently work toward assisting people with housing. Even though, our How’s Nashville fund fell a little short this year and we were unable to cover all the requests – we were able to assist many, many residents with move-in costs this year. Thank you! You helped us remove the last barriers to housing for a lot of people.
  5. And of course, we want to thank all the people who are still struggling with homelessness for their patience and their willingness to work with our partners, even when we have not figured out everything yet. Thank you and please help us improve our system, so that we get to the point where we, as a community, are able to assist any person who falls into homelessness by making it brief, rare, and non-recurring,

All of you combined is our community’s How’s Nashville movement! Thank you!



End of Year Donation

Over the past two and a half years all donations supporting the How’s Nashville community campaign to end chronic and Veteran homelessness came from the private sector, and 100% of the money has been used to cover security and utility deposits (NES, water, gas), first month rent, furniture and household items, and some backpay.

With your help, we can break the cycle of chronic homelessness for many of our fellow Nashvillians. Thanks to these contributions, our community partners (How’s Nashville) have been able to assist 1,500 people with permanent housing.

This year alone, an average of 54 people experiencing chronic homelessness have moved into permanent housing. This number is about triple the housing placement rate prior to the How’s Nashville campaign. The current housing retention rate is about 80%.

We spend  an average of $600 per person on move-in costs and have a limit of $1,000 per person in assistance. Our partner agencies apply for this money directly for clients who experience chronic homelessness and are considered among the most vulnerable people living in Nashville’s streets and shelters.

Please consider a donation to the How’s Nashville fund as your year-end gift to our community – there is no administration cost that will be deducted from it and 100% of every dollar you send will benefit a person in need.

You can donate online or you can make out a check to “How’s Nashville” and mail it to the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission, attn: Will Connelly, PO Box 196300, Nashville, TN 37219-6300.

October summary

Record Housing Placements in October

October was our community’s record month of 2015 in terms of housing people experiencing chronic homelessness! Thank you to all our How’s Nashville partners for working so hard on helping the most vulnerable individuals, families, and veterans experiencing homelessness in Nashville!

A total of 108 people were assisted with permanent supportive housing in October. Of those, 86 experienced chronic homelessness and 26 are Veterans.