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