Journey Home - A Model

The new addition to Room in the Inn's facilities began with a vision and years of planning and fundraising. Last Thursday was the groundbreaking.

I wanted to share a portion of the program with my readers; a paragraph that describes beautifully the work and vision of Campus for Human Development:

This expansion to our facilities and programs will enable us, using Mayor Karl Dean's words, "to complete the Campus." What this means is that we will be able to open a path for a person to make the "Journey Home," from living on the streets to securing a permanent apartment all under the guidance and support of our Room in the Inn community. In 1995, we formed the Campus for Human Development, becoming the city's only single site of services, offering an array of both emergency and long-term services. Today we stand on the brink of a new chapter in our long story. Specifically, what we will be able to create is a larger Campus that includes increased medical, educational, and day service space; and, for the first time, 38 affordable housing apartments. In short, we will expand and complete Nashville's comprehensive center for the homeless.

I hope the Mayor will remember this development - a single site with comprehensive services for the homeless - as a great model.

Nashville has a variety of services, both government-based and through non-profits and congregations, that address poverty in the city. Unfortunately, the system is very difficult to understand and not easily accessible. In many cases, multiple appointments with various agencies across the city are necessary. This is very time-consuming and potentially frustrating, e.g. for people who depend on public transportation or who can't afford to take an entire day off of work to meet with just one or two agencies.

It would be a significant step in the right direction, if we could combine those services in a network of neighborhood-based, single-site access points. One social worker could work with an individual or a family to help them understand all the resources available to them and assist them with completing the necessary applications. Non-profit organizations and neighborhood congregations that work on related issues like substance abuse, adult literacy, parenting skills, budgeting etc. could be partners at these centers.

Head Start Centers or community centers come to mind as potential sites for more comprehensive services for Nashvillians battling the causes and consequences of poverty.