A collaboration between the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency “will create over 200 housing opportunities for vulnerable and chronically homeless people,” the agencies said in a joint release Monday.
The effort aligns with the goals of a new local campaign called How’s Nashville, aimed at ending chronic homelessness, and MDHA plans to set aside 18 Housing Choice Vouchers each month toward that goal. MDHA will be accepting applications each month from people identified by the Homelessness Commission as chronically homeless and vulnerable.
An initial nine Housing Choice Vouchers were given out last week.
"MDHA is the largest provider of affordable housing in our city, and we recognize the current momentum in our community around moving chronically homeless people from the streets into housing as quickly as possible," Jim Thiltgen, MDHA's interim executive director, said in a statement. "The federal government allows local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to prioritize these vital resources to the most vulnerable, so we took this opportunity for collaboration, which we believe will benefit the entire community.”
"In addition, we are proposing to HUD that we use Community Development Block Grant funds to assist these homeless applicants with application fees, deposits, and other expenses to expedite their move-ins," Thiltgen said.
How's Nashville partners set a goal in early June to house 200 people in 100 days, and Nashville, as a community, reached its goal for last month and housed 43 people who had been chronically homeless, according to the release.
"We'd like to move 76 people into a new home in July," Will Connelly, director of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission. "Even if we fall a little short, I am sure that by the middle of September our community's housing placement rate will have increased. With the start we've had, I believe that Nashville has good chance to end chronic homelessness in the next four years."
How’s Nashville is a part of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, which has a goal of housing 100,000 chronicaly homeless and vulnerable people by July 2014.
“We believe that a focus on the most medically vulnerable individuals and families in our community will save lives while we work together on streamlining our city’s housing placement process,” reads a statement on the group’s website.
How’s Nashville local partners include: Open Table Nashville, Mental Health Cooperative, Park Center, the local VA, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA), Nashville Cares, Room In The Inn, the Nashville Rescue Mission, Colby's Army, United Neighborhood Health Services, Metro Social Services, Centerstone, Eckman/Freeman, Nashville Downtown Partnership, United Neighborhood Health Services, First Management Services, and more.