Outreach teams enter homeless encampments to assess who needs housing

The Metro Homeless Impact Division is visiting each homeless encampment to determine who desperately needs housing.
WSMV4's Marissa Sulek reports.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - People in Nashville could be getting a house all paid for by the city. The Metro Homeless Impact Division is going to each homeless encampment in Nashville to see who needs a new home right now. It’s a new program the department started six months ago. Since then, they’ve housed over 100 people.

As the Outreach Team makes their way into a Nashville homeless camp, members, like Lakiesha Davenport, know the camps are homes for people.

The team’s goal is to get the homeless materials they need, while also trying to see who desperately needs housing.

For Davenport, she understands where they come from because she was homeless too.

“The first thing is building a relationship, like that area you work in, connecting with that person,” she said.

Davenport said everyone in encampments across Nashville deserves housing, but the piece of paper on a clipboard she carries around allows her to assess who needs it first.

“No matter where you go, for me I just keep getting thrown around like trash,” said one woman in the encampment.

She has been homeless for 10 years.

“People, they judge you out here,” she said. “They automatically assume you’re on drugs, or you’re an alcoholic or you’re a prostitute and that’s not true.”

Davenport personally knows the assessments are only the beginning of the process.

“It’s not just getting them housed,” she said. “You got to figure out the services to get them better so that they can stay housed, because everyone wants to be housed.”

As for the woman who spoke in the encampment, Davenport believes she will be on the priority list.

“I get chills just talking about the lady we just talked about,” she said. “That is the reason why I even get joy out of life is seeing joy. When she got emotional when she knew right then that her voice was being heard. And to see that, she’s going to get the help she needs, and that’s what it’s about y’all. To see that, it takes a village to help that one person. It took a village to get me to where I am today.”

After the Outreach Team does its assessments, it will bring them together and see if the encampment is a priority for housing.

Of the 100 people housed last time MHID did the assessments, 87% are still living in the housing provided.