NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mayor John Cooper spent part of Thursday shaking hands and thanking some of those responsible for helping clear out the 50-plus people living in one of the city’s largest homeless encampments at Brookmeade Park.
However, the city’s work is far from over, because there are still an estimated 600 chronically homeless individuals in Nashville.
Lisa Wysocky, executive director of the nonprofit, Colby’s Army was hard at work in West Nashville Thursday helping the unhoused living in areas surrounding Brookmeade Park.
“A few people have moved away from Brookmeade and into other encampments here in Bellevue and West Nashville, but there have been people here all along,” Wysocky said.
Wysocky estimates there are still around 30 people experiencing homelessness in West Nashville.
Other unhoused advocates told News 2 that, oftentimes, when cities clear out homeless encampments, the people staying there will go to another encampment—resulting in their growth or the creation of new encampments.
The “Old Tent City” encampment under I-24 along the Cumberland River is growing for that reason—new people are moving in every day, according to volunteers.
Mayor Cooper told reporters Thursday that Metro has provided temporary housing to around 1,800 of the city’s unhoused.
| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County
However, the city still has to move those individuals into permanent housing while addressing the remaining 600 still on the streets.
“Let’s not be daunted by our work ahead, but let’s go straight forward to it,” Cooper said during Thursday’s press conference. “Let’s get beyond the 1,800 people being rehoused in the next year, and let’s address, and the captain works on this every day, our chronically unhoused.”
The city is using $50 million of American Rescue Plan funds to pay for the housing first initiative. It’s unclear how much money leaders have spent so far.