Homelessness up slightly in Nashville, agency finds

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 4:40pm

The number of homeless living in Nashville shelters and on streets has risen slightly in the past year, according to figures released Friday by the Metro housing department.

During the agency’s annual homeless count, officials found 2,321 people experiencing some form of homelessness, up from last year’s count of 2,159.

“It’s about what I estimated, what I thought it would be for a point-in-time count,” Clifton Harris, director of the Metro Homelessness Commission, told The City Paper.

The count, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requests annually of cities receiving federal funding to combat homelessness, was taken during the early hours of Jan. 27. Officials and volunteers from more than 30 government and nonprofit agencies and businesses scoured the city’s streets, camps and known locales for the homeless; they literally counted the people they found.

“I think these numbers demonstrate an increased number of services and probably indicate some success in getting folks into shelter, simply because the outdoor count was the one area that dropped,” said Metro Councilman Erik Cole, who also chairs the homelessness commission. The report also notes that 60 fewer people were found sleeping outdoors than the year prior, suggesting an increase in services.

But the continuing increase in homelessness overall is “still a major concern for the city,” Cole said.

Most acknowledge that this kind of count is not an entirely accurate reading of a city’s overall homeless population. Harris said on any given night, there are about 4,000 people living on Nashville’s streets and in its shelters. 

1 Comment on this post:

By: yucchhii on 8/23/10 at 1:25

I would NOT count on reliability from Clifton Harris or the homelessness commision! Clifton himself had admitted that the commision has NO authority to do ANYTHING! They were created out of the Mayors office to distract anyone with issues regarding homelessness, whether they are homeless or just have an issue on homelessness. Any issues people may have regarding homelessness, really need to be brought before the mayors office and forget going to the homelessness commision. Let the mayor know that your not going to talk to people that have NO authority to act! The Mayor is ANTI-homeless. It matters not if you are a person who is trying to get back on your feet and that your NOT a bum. It matters NOT that you are a hard working person and you were a victim of circumstances and your circumstances are beyond your control! They will act as if your not there and sweep you under the carpet along with ALL the other homeless and the BUMS!