NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Thursday, city leaders and community members came together to find shelter for those living in a homeless camp near the Walmart off Charlotte Pike. It’s a place almost 50 people call home, but neighbors say they’ve had enough.
Recently, trees and foliage were removed to stop the camp from growing. Brookmeade Park is a place people drive by, but the park off the Cumberland River Greenway was once home to Liz Mallard.
“I was out at the encampment for almost 10 years,” Mallard said at a community meeting Thursday. “And it’s going to make me cry, these organizations helped me. I was dying.”
Mallard says she found shelter in December and has been sober for seven months. For others, like Becky Lowe, she says Brookemeade Park is a place she’ll no longer visit.
“It just got to the point where I couldn’t go over there without actually a little bit of fear,” says Becky Lowe, creator of an organization called “Reclaim Brookemeade Park”.
At Thursday’s meeting, Lowe passed out shirts and signs. The purpose? To bring the greenway back and find homes for those who live there.
“It’s just not on the radar of people,” says Lowe. “And there’s no reason it should not be on the radar because we have been loud.”
Lowe says after five years of countless emails to city leaders there’s been no response. Now, they’re chiming in. At Thursday’s meeting, Metro Nashville West Precinct police and Judith Tackett, Metro Director of the Homeless Impact Division spoke up.
“We need the community to help us find landlords that are accepting vouchers, Section 8 vouchers,” says Tackett to News4. “We have incentives for landlords to work with us.”
Tackett says so far, the city exceeded its affordable housing goal this year of 400 homes. Others, like Lowe, say they want to see more.
“What the city hasn’t done is truly address the fact that they have nowhere to put them,” Lowe says. “And this concept of affordable housing is just a fancy excuse for what hasn’t happened.”
“I’m moving into my apartment this coming week,” Mallard announces at the meeting, which was met with applause. “It is not easy out there. We don’t like being out there. I still consider every one of those people out there, those people out there are my friends.”
The Mayor’s office says they will specifically assign people to work on a plan for Brookmeade Park.