Well it has been a while since I wrote a blog about the residents of Tent City Nashville and those in living in Lebanon. Our Group still visits these residents on a weekly basis in Nashville and once a month in Lebanon.
After the Thanksgiving Hoe-Down every thing got back to normal well as normal as things could be if you were homeless. The winter here in Nashville turned harsh which was rough on those in Tent City Nashville. We furnished as many warm cloths, fire wood and propane as we could, other agencies in the area put the residents up in shelters but all would not go.
Other organizations have began to help at the Nashville location, the residents do appreciate every thing everyone tries to do to make there life a little easier. However some times the best intentions turn out to do more harm then good. Let my try to explain in a tack full way.
There are government agencies that are appointed to look out for the homeless population in Nashville. We have found these people and have been in contact with them and plan on attending their meetings and to work with them to help the homeless residents. After all they have more money than we do.
In the Tennessean Dated Wednesday Feb 3, 2010 front page of Local and Business section, the head line reads “Volunteers ant taste of Tent City Life”. The article tells about how Christians should get out and live their faith by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting people in prison …. I find this statement ironic as the bible verse they use can be found in the Book of Matthew Chapter 25 Verse 35 and 36; the ironic part comes later in the blog. The article then goes on to say that maybe they should just spend a night or two at the campsite and hold pray meetings around a camp fire and better serve the residents. They are going to build temporary structures, the key word there is structures. All that sounds fine and dandy, only if it will work. Here is the flaw in the slaw.
- The Residents of Tent City Hate it when they become your project
- They do not like to be preached to, do not tell them about God show them the love of God through you, they will ask you if they can come to your church, we know we have had it happen!
- Do not build a temporary shelters, go to Wal-Mart and buy a 50.00 dollar tent set up on some pallets to keep the rats and moisture out and have a good night, sure there are some shelters at the site, but 9 out of 10 were built out of pallets, no insulated siding.
- There is a pecking order there, do not disrupt it, do not put a resident in one of the shelters you have built that has not been there as long as someone else, believe it or not Tent City has a mayor and that is his decision
- When you try to make their shower better finish the job, as of last Tuesday when we were there it was still not working
- Show up every week get to know their names, the story’s, build trust, give them your cell phone numbers so they can call you at all hours of the night. I good friend of mine made a profound statement, You know you have made a friend when they will call you at 2am because they need something or do not want you to worry when you hear something that happened at Tent City on the news.
- Now the legal mumbojumbo, as stated by the Director of the Metropolitan Nashville Homelessness Commission, you need permits to do that, as the property belongs to Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The article also states that getting to know the residents is a good idea; they say it builds trust and friendships. I agree whole heartedly with that statement.
The Article is right below the one above. Headline reads “Death of injured foster baby treated as homicide” Homeless moms son put in couples care died with severe head injury. The baby was born to a homeless mother on the side of the road; he was taken from his mother after only 2 days and put in State Custody, just 12 weeks later they pulled the plug on his life support. 2 months after being born he was taken to the hospital and never re gained consciousness. The couple had completed all training and passed all home visits. Hmmm I guess not because the home setting is where the police are focusing there investigation!
- How come the mother and baby were not keep together in a shelter or allowed to live together at the foster home. It is evident she wanted to take care of the child due to all the visits she made. A mother who gives up a child just walks away, with no visits.
- This case brings a lot of attention to the government and how stuff will fall through the cracks. That is the reason we formed our organization, to help the government and others to help those in need.
- The mother visited him at the home and hospital!
- This story is sad but this is the case more often than not. The question is if the mother had gotten the help she needed would be the baby still be alive?
The next article also published in the Tennessean dated Friday Feb 5, 2010. Headline reads “2 face sex offender registry charges” Two of our friends were picked up at the campsite by metro police for probation and parole violations.
- Yes we have criminals living there, but God loves them just like everybody else, however you still have to be careful and watch your self, staying over night may not be such a good idea until you gain their trust and friendship.
On Thursday Feb 18, 2010 at 2:51 am Cowboy called several of us to inform us (Yes you get it they have our personal cell phone numbers, just like your friends have yours) that a fire had taken place but no one was injured. He said he called to let us know so we would not worry when it was on the news and it would be because the news crews a long with 3 fire trucks and 5 police cars were on the site. Before anyone else knew we knew whose site had burned, if anyone was hurt, and what he saw and heard!!
On Friday Feb 19, 2010 at 4:53 am Tony called, Quita had a job and he had an interview. The problem he had a flat on the van that they had purchased. His spare was flat, he had a tire but needed someone to take him to get it put on the rim. I knew that Underdog (Tim) was off that day and he can fix anything; so I gave him a call and I knew with him a Ross on the job their was no need to worry. Tony and Quita will be out of tent city soon and on there own. We will still stay in touch just to make sure they do not have to come back to live. A visit is fine, but a home to go back to is great.
As you can see like I stated above it has been a rough winter since we last wrote about our friends in Tent City Nashville, but they are resilient, and with Gods love and security someday they all will be in a home!
If you have been reading any of the blogs we describe our selves as a group of people that believe in a common cause, helping those in need. This is still true. We decided in order to help as many people as possible we would become a Non-Profit Organization that could take tax deductible donations to help with the homeless and others in need. We elected the board of directors, hired a consulting firm, and filed all the paper work in late Jan., We are now a Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Tennessee, The Federal paper work know as the 501c3 is in the process of being filed. We can now take donations that are Tax Deductible! The name of our group The Matthew 25-35 Initiative People Loving People!
To learn all about please visit our web sites.
All size donations are accepted, the web pages change with events and news so please visit often.