Small Step Forward For Intervention In Nashville Homeless Encampments

Image Credit: Reclaim Brookmeade Park and Greenway

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Following a consistent nearly year-long effort by a Nashville grassroots group pushing for a large homeless encampment to be cleaned up, an announcement has finally arrived that the encampment will be the first in the area prioritized for intervention.

Reclaim Brookmeade Park and Greenway has been working all year to prompt Nashville Mayor John Cooper into addressing the homeless encampments in Brookmeade Park. 

Dede Byrd, who works with the group, says she has “never seen an environment that is more unsafe than Brookmeade Park.”  The park has been closed to the public for some time due to the homeless population.

In February of this year, the group’s leader Rebecca Lowe met with the mayor for an hour and half.

“He heard me on trash, crime, abuse, neglect and most of all, a fast solution like transition villages with pods. He was receptive and I felt great about the meeting. I took this back to you and said I felt confident I got our message across and he would act quickly on our crisis. He also promised me he’d walk the park with me and see first hand what a hellhole it’s become and still is. He never did,” Lowe said.

Giving the mayor ample time to act beforehand, the group launched a billboard campaign in June publicly shaming Cooper for refusing to clean up the encampment.

Now, according to a recommendation made from the Metro Homeless Impact Division, the encampment will be prioritized for intervention.

The division states they made the decision based on existing Metro data and that they will continue to make site assessments in order to determine the next steps.  They state that there is no current plan to immediately close the encampment.

The assessment team is made of more than a dozen local nonprofits and homelessness service providers.  In addition to the Metro Homeless Impact Division, the team is made up of nonprofits: The Salvation Army, People Loving Nashville, Shower the People, Colby’s Army and The Contributor.

A spokesperson for Colby’s Army stated that the team is still in the information-gathering phase and that, “There are no current timelines or specific processes in place at this time, to my knowledge.”

Another encampment that is being considered for intervention is by the soccer field in South Nashville but Dede Byrd from Reclaim Brookmeade believes that Brookmeade should be addressed first stating that there are individuals there “who have suffered for over a decade.”

The end goal of the assessment team is to figure out where the homeless population can be housed and then present their recommendations to Homelessness Planning Council at this month’s meeting.

Reclaim Brookmeade Park and Greenway members have stated that this recent action is a small step forward.

Around the first of October, the Metro Nashville Council approved the usage of $50 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to address homelessness.  

In a plan backed by Mayor John Cooper’s administration, the plan includes:

$25 million in low-cost loans for developers to bring units of deeply affordable housing online quickly

$9 million to support temporary housing

$9 million toward housing-first supportive services

$7 million in competitive grants to incentivize landlords and developers to relax barriers to housing

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

2 thoughts on “Small Step Forward For Intervention In Nashville Homeless Encampments

  • November 8, 2022 at 12:39 am

    Let’s get serious. GP large tents, mess hall tents, ports potties, shower tents like in the military? Medical screening for all. Security force elements. Transportation to medical. Employment training programs . Make residence required with misdemeanor citations for failure to participate. Those who dont want to issued citations. Make vagrancy a real crime and most will leave Nashville. Then re-open the asylums closed in the 60’s. Millions to create new slums is not an answer. Remove the welcome mat.

  • November 8, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    My view is that a lot, or even most of these people, are chronically mentally ill. Well supervised group homes are needed for both chronically mentally ill and mentally retarded adults. I agree that we cannot tolerate homeless camps like exist in the west coast.


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