The homeless population in Murfreesboro has increased significantly over the past few years, but right now, there are limited beds at night forcing many to sleep under bridges and in cars.
If homeless advocates have their way, a new Murfreesboro Rescue Mission could open in the near future, but millions of dollars will have to be raised first.
It’s something that has been five years in the making.
“When I see people living under bridges and in abandoned buildings, you know, in places where really and truthfully it just was not meant for human habitation, it just tears at my heart, and we can do better,” said Murfreesboro Rescue Mission founder Ed Grimes.
The mission would focus on helping the homeless.
“People who need a place to stay overnight, people who need just a basic decent change of clothing, we really don’t have that,” Grimes said. “That’s our purpose in trying to meet that need here in the city.”
Right now, there are no real homeless shelters in Murfreesboro.
The Salvation Army has limited space and only a few beds and the Journey Home is a day-shelter.
“One of the real critical factors in that is that when people are housed all of the supportive services just works better,” The Journey Home Director Scott Foster said. “In fact, when people don’t have a stable roof over their head at night it makes a lot of the supportive services sort of not very efficient, not very effective. So, working with additional shelters placed in our community will help people sort of stabilize their housing situation and be able to move forward in a productive manner.”
The Coldest Nights Shelter only opens when the temperature drops below freezing.
Greenhouse Ministries also provides assistance to the city’s homeless.
“We have a lot of great organizations here in the city doing a fantastic job, but yes, the problem here in Murfreesboro is available bed space,” Grimes said.
Homeless advocates say five years ago there were about 90 homeless people in Murfreesboro, and last year that number grew to more than 300.
Advocates told News 2 homelessness is more than someone sleeping under a bridge or living out of their vehicle.
They said it can be a divorced couple who can’t afford to live on their own or an elderly person where a spouse has passed away.
Murfreesboro Rescue Mission has found a piece of land they hope to purchase to build the facility but they’re not ready to reveal the location.
They are hoping to build a 28,000 square-feet of building to house men, women and women with children.
“We want to stay centrally located to downtown, that’s where most of our homeless traffic is, and it also makes it more accessible to get resources and so forth,” Grimes said.
Grimes has more than 20 years of helping with the homeless.
He worked at the Nashville Rescue Mission for 16 of those years and said there is also a big need in Murfreesboro.
“We’ll use a lot of what was happening in Nashville,” Grimes said. “I think Nashville has thereabout 60-plus years old. They have done a fantastic job over the years in dealing with homelessness and I think they have an excellent blueprint to follow behind.”
Grimes and Board of Directors of the Murfreesboro Rescue Mission will begin a fundraising campaign in February.
The goal for this year is to raise a million dollars to purchase land and then over the next few years raise $5.4 million dollars for pay for the building.