NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — New billboards are up on Nashville’s westside, calling out Mayor John Cooper and pushing for something to be done about the homeless population taking over Brookmeade Park.
“Our job with Reclaim Brookmeade Park is to keep our community involved, let them know what’s going on, let them know the responses,” said Dede Byrd.
Byrd is the vice president of Reclaim Brookmeade Park, the group behind these billboards.
“We are community stakeholders that are actively involved in protecting our way of life, our community, and it should be safe for everyone,” said Byrd.
The group formed in 2021 and since then has been pushing for city leaders to address and fix the homeless problem affecting the park.
“This should have never happened,” said Byrd. “So the park board and the mayor, they need to be held accountable and they need to come up with a plan to help these people that are in this park.”
Byrd says they met with the mayor in February about their concerns, but feel not much has been done.
“It’s not only a fast response; we want a different response because what this city’s been doing is housing the easiest group of people to be housed,” she said. “Everyone should be housed, but they have not dealt with the chronic homeless population, and that’s the people that need extensive wrap-around services.”
The billboards will be up until the end of June, and Byrd hopes it not only gets the attention of drivers but also leaders who can help make something happen.
“The homeless impact division, the homeless planning council, the COC, the nonprofits have got to stop arguing about how we’re going to do it and it needs to be when we’re going to do it and what is the plan,” she said.
News 2 reached out to the mayor’s office which provided the following statement:
“No human being deserves to live in an encampment, which is why the Mayor has made helping our unhoused neighbors get back on their feet a top priority. He is investing an unprecedented $50 million to dramatically enhance the substance abuse and mental health resources available, as well as new permanent supportive housing to get folks the help they need to find stable housing and stay off the street.”
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Byrd says along with the billboards they’ve also gotten businesses in the area to sign new trespassing waivers that will keep the homeless from the park from affecting their businesses.