The tent city beneath Ellington Parkway and Spring Street was once one of the largest homeless camps in the city.
After its residents were evicted in February, what was left was reduced to rubble.
Piles of trash still lie in a small field beneath the roadway.
“It’s just really sad to drive by every day and see that like that,” noted Penny Weems.
“Oh that’s horrible,” said Sammie Stamps. “So they moved the homeless people, and they didn’t pick up the garbage.”
The trash has been there now nearly two months, leading some community activists to wonder why.
Lindsey Krinks works with Open Table Nashville and helped the homeless navigate the eviction.
“It’s frustrating because the city moved so quickly to push the residents out, and then have just left everything behind they gathered,” she explained. “We had to scramble with other out reach worker’s and a lot of the folks that were there just moved further and deeper into the woods.”
The property is state-owned, and while the eviction was carried out by TDOT, the move was supported by some city officials.
Mayor David Briley’s office released a statement during the eviction, that read:
We were deeply concerned about the safety of those living in this encampment. The weather has been getting colder and we are about to have heavy rain that may cause flooding.
This is also a busy traffic area, and it is not safe for people to live outdoors at this location. We worked closely with Metro Social Services and service providers to ensure every person in the encampment was connected to services. We were able to do that.
No one was arrested either.
Increasing access to safe and affordable housing – especially for our most vulnerable residents – is a critical priority for my administration. I committed another $10M to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing in this past year’s budget, as well as allocating an additional $25M in the Capital Spending Plan. I have prioritized the need for the city to focus on housing units for very low-income residents and people experiencing homelessness.
My proposal to create at least 100 units of permanent supportive housing and a new Downtown Homeless Service Center is an excellent example of this. These investments, along with the work of the Metro Homeless Impact Division and new Homelessness Planning Council, will significantly impact Nashville’s ability to ensure access to housing for people experiencing homelessness and currently living in encampments.
TDOT confirmed with News 2 on Friday, they’re working with a contractor to schedule a cleanup.
For some though, the trash left behind is a sign of a trend.
“Our city is prioritizing big money and out of state corporations like Amazon and the NFL,” Crinks added. “While it’s people are literally living and dying in the shadows of all the luxury in progress.”