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Tiny Homes Provide Shelter For Nashville’s Homeless

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With homelessness on the rise, Nashville residents have taken the housing problem into their own hands.

“It’s not every day you see houses towed behind pickup trucks, making their way through the center of town. But a few months ago, homes in Nashville, Tennessee began that journey, delivering security and shelter to those who needed it most.

It’s part of a unique project called the Sanctuary. In 2012 the Green Street Church of Christ, which has long been a service provider to the homeless, started offering safe refuge behind the church’s fence to homeless campers. The church’s deacon, Caleb Pickering, says that before he knew it 20 tents were in its backyard. Three years later, Nashville pastor Jeff Carr approached Pickering and the Green Street Church with an idea: Convert the tents into microhomes.

By all accounts, Nashville is a thriving city, drawing tourists and new residents in huge numbers. Forbes named it one of America’s 20 fastest-growing cities in 2015. But according to advocates, that popularity is also driving up the homeless population, with fewer options for low-income housing.” said aljazeera.com

“It’s estimated there are roughly 600,000 homeless in the United States. The official numbers for Nashville are around 2,300, but local outreach organizations believe the number is three times that, totaling close to 8,000 men, women and children.

Seven houses are in the place and more are on the way

Carr raised the $50,000 needed to construct the six initial homes in just 45 days.

Now with seven homes in place in the Sanctuary and plans for more on the way, these homes provide more than shelter from the elements to the men and women residing in them.” said aljazeera.com

“The residents told America Tonight the homes provide dignity, security, and a place to plan their future:

Peter Regan

Peter Regan outside his home

Peter Regan has been on the streets almost his entire life. The 60-year-old says he is bipolar, but receiving treatment and counseling. His humble home is complete with battery-powered heat and creative storage for his belongings.

It’s great knowing you can lock your stuff up and it’s going to be there when you come back,” says Regan.

He volunteers almost daily as a church van driver. He says it’s his way of giving back and helping others he believes are more in need than himself.

He’s currently looking for work and hoping to transition into his own apartment.” said aljazeera.com

Charles Asobo

Asobo is funding his younger brother's education. He hopes that when he graduates from school, he will be able to move into his own apartment.

 “Charles Asobo says he fled Nigeria to escape Boko Haram. When the former environmental engineer arrived in the U.S., he found himself alone and out of money. Now he and several others at the Sanctuary work full time for a Nashville moving company. He says he sends his money to Russia to put his little brother through school. Once his brother graduates, Asobo will be able to move out of his microhome and into his own apartment.

“Your privacy gives you time to think on the next step of things you want to do,” Asobo said.

Moses Okoth

When Okoth's roommates moved out, he couldn't afford to pay rent. He is applying for jobs and hoping to move into his own place soon.

Moses Okoth moved from Kenya to Nashville to complete degree in pharmacology. But shortly after graduating, his roommates left. Suddenly, he couldn’t afford the rent and found himself living in his car.  He is applying for jobs and hopes to move out of The Sanctuary in the next few months.

“It’s like heaven for some of us,” Okoth said. “Here, you’ve got privacy, there’s people that bring food.”

Danny Alexander

Local homelessness outreach organizations say there could be as many as 8,000 people sleeping on the streets in Nashville

Unfortunately, not everyone in Nashville has a roof over his head.

Danny Alexander lives in tent camps in the woods. Like many others sleeping rough in Nashville, Alexander puts his tent on top of anything he can find to elevate and insulate it from the ground.

Earlier this month, members of the outreach group Open Table Nashville were bandaging wounds he suffered a few days earlier, and giving him much-needed supplies.

Danny lives in a tent camp in the woods.

“Taking inspiration from the Sanctuary, Open Table Nashville is on the cusp of opening its own microhome community to offer more suitable temporary shelter to people, like Alexander.

As for the Sanctuary, Pickering says they’re hoping to raise enough money to build microhomes for every resident currently in a tent, and provide additional support services. But he’s aware that the Sanctuary isn’t going to solve the issue of homelessness in Nashville.

He says, ‘We’re helping 20 people out, which is great, which is what we are capable of doing … but the community has really got to step up to really get into something as big as solving homelessness.'” said aljazeera.com

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“Tiny Homes Provide Shelter For Nashville’s Homeless”