A lot more Room In The Inn

Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 11:45pm

What Father Charles Strobel likes to say started with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the early ’80s has grown into the nonprofit Room In The Inn’s Campus for Human Development, a massive initiative to help homeless in Nashville.

Its most recent achievement?

The five-story Comprehensive Center, the crown jewel of a $13 million expansion that looks to focus on programs for the homeless as well as provide them an attractive, sober environment off the streets.

The shiny new center adds 38 affordable housing apartments and a 13-classroom learning center with space open to the community at large. Not to mention shower and laundry facilities, a courtyard with a patio-sized chessboard, Internet access and expanded medical care.

“We want this to be a place of hope, to rebuild people’s self-esteem and to reignite a dream again,” Strobel said.

With a soft launch on July 1 and the grand opening set for Sept. 9, a key aspect of the center lies on its top three floors, where 500-square-foot apartments are available from $200 to $550, based on income. For those who live there, the units are a safe alternative to other affordable housing options that may be surrounded by temptations such as drugs.

For those who can’t yet afford their own apartment, the units can serve as a goal.

You could almost say homeless advocacy has been building up to this for more than 25 years.

It all started in 1983 as simple peanut butter sandwiches evolved into the Loaves & Fishes Soup Kitchen, a place where the homeless could grab a meal.

In 1991, the Guest House formed, giving homeless arrested for public intoxication an alternative to the traditional drunk tank and treating the problem as a medical-social issue rather than a criminal one.

Roll in FOCUS (Faith Organizations in Covenant for Understanding and Service), various other programs for the homeless, the support of hundreds of congregations as well as the leadership of Strobel and others, and you have a the current homeless support system.

“All of us need to be able to have hope and dreams,” Strobel said. “Not to have that is to not be alive. We want this to be a place that helps people to come back to life.”

2 Comments on this post:

By: i.am.a.taxpayer on 8/30/10 at 11:22

Thank you and congratulations to Father Charles Strobel and all those involved in providing meaningful help to the homeless.

The kind of help that improves their chances of taking care of themselves is what is effective. The kind of services that keep people stuck in homeless serve only the agencies and not the homeless.

By: MK-Ultra on 8/30/10 at 6:04

For all those who truly are in need of a " hand up " , this is wonderful news and long overdue . Fr. Strobel is a class act . I bow to him for his dedication and service
to all those in need . It has been a long hard road to get to this place .

Now , as for those who ask for a " HAND OUT " ,
I have nothing good to say about you . You are
street scum and take advantage of the charity of others .
You take away from those who are in genuine need and rob from
the poor . You are the worst sort and need to be punished .

As for those street people who are mentally sick and have been
put out on the streets because the State will not house you ,
I am sorry and you deserve much more than abandonment
from our society . You are truly in need of compassion and
attention . We have failed you . Please forgive us for funding
sports , parks , convention centers , water parks , and gardens
while placing your existence on earth at the very bottom
of our priority list . The State of Tennessee does not care if you
live or die . Yes I know the Lord is watching us , but our heads are
turned the other way .