Homeless advocates protest, march for change - WSMV News 4

Homeless advocates protest, march for change

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Homeless advocates on Friday made a plea to city officials to implement new policies that will protect and help the city's less fortunate.

They led a protest that involved carrying a casket to 2nd Avenue South where the Metro Homelessness Commission held a meeting.  The commission's new director Will Connelly walked with them in support.

The protest comes two weeks after a homeless man, James G. Fulmer, was found dead of hypothermia on the steps of a church in east Nashville.  The group said Fulmer is one of four homeless men who have already died this year.

The advocates are asking for cheaper housing for the less fortunate.  Currently there's only enough shelter space to house half of the homeless population.

"We need more blanket drives. We need more shelter beds, and yes, we need those things, but there aren't enough shelter beds in Nashville because we don't have enough affordable housing. What we need is more low income housing, more affordable housing, more housing for people with bad backgrounds. We have waiting lists that are astronomical. People are dying before they get into housing in Nashville," said advocate Lindsey Krinks.

Krinks said she has high hopes that the commission will create permanent housing for the homeless community.

Connelly said he plans to have an emergency cold weather plan for the city by next winter.

He said his long term goal for the commission is creating more permanent housing for the homeless.  If that's accomplished, he believes that will help create room at the shelters that already exist.

The commission has two and a half years to complete its new list of goals. The Metro Homeless Commission was only authorized to meet through 2015. City leaders will then decide whether to continue the commission.

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