Rapid-rehousing initiative helps get youth experiencing homelessness off the streets

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 covers growth and the growing pains that come along with it in our Nashville 2020 reports.

As Nashville rents continue rising, more and more young people are finding it hard to afford a place to call home– leaving many, without.

The Oasis Center estimates roughly 1,100 youth are experiencing homelessness right now in Music City, telling News 2 Wednesday, through their new initiative, ‘Rapid Rehousing,’ there’s hope.

“It’s gonna take a lot of us and the whole community, but we’re excited about the opportunity to move the needle in the right direction,” said Mark Dunkerley, Chief Strategy Officer at the Oasis Center.

So far, it seems, they are moving in the right direction as the process of getting those aged 18-24 off the streets and into a home is already changing.

​​”For way too long young people came to us looking for a roof over their head and we were handing them a blanket and that’s not okay,” Dunkerley said.

The enthusiasm comes after the city and several organizations came up with a plan to fix the problem of youth homelessness. The city was awarded a grant and money for the Oasis Center followed– 1.7 million dollars a year.

The plan is as follows:

Stop young people from experiencing homelessness

If they do, make sure it’s brief and make sure it only happens one time.

The Oasis Center is working to follow this plan through its new initiative ‘Rapid Rehousing’ that provides rental assistance to those who need it.

If rent is in market-rate the Oasis center covers all of the rent and once youth find employment, Oasis eases off their assistance.

“Our job is to help stabilize a young person in housing and slowly step away,” ​ Karri Gornick, the Director of Rapid Rehousing said.​ “We’re looking for housing that once we step away they can afford on their own.” The Oasis Center also lends its support through the program, helping with child care, employment, healthcare, transportation, and therapy.

Nine young people have already been housed following the program’s November launch. Dunkerley is hopeful more landlords open up their units for those in need.

“It’s absolutely working,” Dunkerley said. “It’s a game-changing opportunity for young people experiencing homelessness and we’re just thrilled we will be able to put young people into housing​.”

The Oasis Center is hoping to house 70 households through its Rapid Rehousing initiative this year. As they move more young people into housing, they still need help furnishing the units, as the money awarded doesn’t provide funding for household items.

Check out their special starter “bundles” here: https://cocobundle.co/oasis

If you’re a landlord and would like to learn more, call the Oasis Center at (615) 327-4455.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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