Metro to push homeless out of temporary Tent City in Hickory Hollow

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 5:57pm

A month after Nashville’s historic flood washed away most of a homeless encampment along the Cumberland River known colloquially as Tent City, a Metro department is saying a temporary site being used by some former residents has to shut down within a month.

Terry Cobb, director of the Metro Department of Codes and Building Safety, told The City Paper early Tuesday that his office issued a notice to the landowner who donated the property saying the people living there have to vacate by July 5. The land is not zoned for such a use, Cobb said, and there is no process for gaining temporary approval to house the displaced homeless people.

“We'll allow a reasonable period of time to comply with the notice,” Cobb said. “In this case, we would assume that they will cooperate and do what we've asked them to do.” He said he had not spoken with anyone affiliated with the group as of early Tuesday afternoon.

The two-acre site, in the Hickory Hollow area, has become a temporary home to about 24 homeless people, all of whom have literally pitched their tents on the tract. Area businessman Lee Beaman donated the land via the Otter Creek Church of Christ, which has been working with displaced Tent City residents since the flood. 

But neighbors in Hickory Hollow were upset by the development, and state Rep. Sherry Jones, whose district also includes Antioch, said they’d been trying to get the new Tent City banished from the neighborhood.

“I had no idea that they were trying to set up, that they were taking folks with the intention of putting them back outside in a tent city,” Jones said, adding that she hoped the homeless would be moved into more traditional subsidized housing arrangements. 

13 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 6/2/10 at 5:23

It didn't take a month for them to move in, why is it taking a month to move out? I am sure, with Mr. Beaman's vast inheritance, he has other property to offer. Maybe some closer to where he lives.

For codes, the joke of a dept.. If someone like Sherry Jones had not spoke up, codes would still be sitting on their arses, doing nothing.

By: WittySage on 6/2/10 at 6:04

Now hear me out I know this is a radical idea. A church, tax exempt of course, leased the land from a filthy rich guy and told those people they could stay there. It’s no coincidence that the land is quite some distance from the church.

So here’s my idea; LET THESE PEOPLE STAY IN THE CHURCH. Oh yeah, I know I need to clarify, let them stay for FREE. Sure as I didn’t clarify that we’d find those poor folks paying rent by the pew (tax exempt of course).

Let unfortunate, poor people stay in a building that some refer to as a HOUSE of God.

I know, what a crazy idea huh?

By: budlight on 6/2/10 at 6:15

Witty, these "tent" people want to live in tents (most of them). They don't wish to follow the rules of society that you and I follow. So I can see why placing them in a church or any other building would not work for THEM. Your idea is not crazy for people actually seeking to re-establish themselves. BUT I think a lot of the people who are nomadic in nature don't want real stability -- or the kind that fits into "normal" society. Some do. And churches -- on every street corner -- are helping many.

By: Dragon on 6/2/10 at 6:42


BTW, what IS the correct zoning for "such a use"? Camping?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/2/10 at 7:13

they can't drink and use drugs if they're in a church and if they're felons trying to fly under the radar, they'll get spotted if they stay in some sort of "housing."

By: BigPapa on 6/2/10 at 7:36

If Mr. Beamon loves those Tent City folks so much maybe he and his Otter Creek Church should let those tents come camp out on Otter Creek drive?

By: gruntz on 6/2/10 at 10:20

I had a really good laugh at yesterday's interview with "TeeTee" who had been living at tent city for two years by her own account. Two years! What!? She appeared coherant/sane and wouldn't give her real name so what do you think the problem might be? Oh I don't know, maybe she doesn't want to be identified by law enforcement for outstanding warrants or for skipping on bail. Why else would you prefer to live in a tent city for two years? Would one of you bleeding heart libbys please explain if two years is not enough time to get yourself straightened out then just how long is "enough time"? Three years? Five years? Come on now.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/2/10 at 10:40

gruntz, i thought the same thing. the same as the TV stations blurring out some of the faces of the people being interviewed. i'm probably what you would refer to as a "bleeding heart libby" but i totally do not agree with Tent City.

By: donnadoright on 6/2/10 at 11:40

You all should take time to really get to know the homeless. I've walked among them and fed them. They are truly some of the most grateful and humble folks I know. Yeah, you have some that fit the "homeless" mold but most of them just want a hand up not a hand out. Quit believing everything you think. Go out and find out the truth for yourselves first hand.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/2/10 at 1:03

donnadoright, i'm not bashing the all the homeless. i'm talking about the ones who refuse help and the felons disgused as homeless so as to fly under the radar. there is a difference. many of them are folks who need and desire help. especially those who suffer from mental illnesses.

By: dthammons on 6/3/10 at 5:28

Dave Hammons
Music City Computer Guy

I'm not homeless but if I didn't have a family to get me through some tough mentally unstable times I had, I would probably be living in a tent too. Cut em' a break! I live 1.8 miles from the land they are occupying. I have been overwhelmed by panhandlers everywhere; even inside Kroger! Six month's of a little inconvenience isn't much to ask to help your fellow man and I am affected by this move as much as anyone. Let them stay; have Lee Beaman hire some sort of "security"(he can afford it), then move them back downtown ASAP. As far as putting them closer to Otter's in Brentwood. Enough said?

My only concern is that it may drop the property value in Cane Ridge. Lenders look at appraisals from the past three months to help determine the value of your home. How will this effect me? I'm planning a re-fi in a couple of months and if the appraisal doesn't come in high enough I'm up the creek!

By: Titansfreak on 6/4/10 at 10:54

To bfra:
Your post about the Codes Dept. is totally ignorant. "For codes, the joke of a dept.. If someone like Sherry Jones had not spoke up, codes would still be sitting on their arses, doing nothing." Really? Seriously?

You apparently have no idea that the Codes Dept. has been working weekends, holiday (Mother's Day), and staying late EVERY night to help the flood victims obtain the required building permits. They were out in the flood damaged areas helping to compile damage assessment information for FEMA. They were going door to door passing out information to guide the victims as to what to do next. Many Codes employees' homes were damaged but still went to work to help others first.

They are sacrificing their own time to make things easier and more convenient on those in need. The permit fees have been waived in an attempt to help. So as far as "Codes sitting on their arses doing nothing"--you are terribly mistaken.

What have you done to help?

By: avoidbelmontuni... on 10/6/10 at 1:25

What I would like to see is the solution that was introduced to the Key Alliance back in October put in to place because it made all parties happy. However, if the homeless are housed, then some of these non-profits won't be able to line their pockets the way they've been doing. I'd like to see some MEASURABLE RESULTS from the Key Alliance, especially since the director, Clifton Harris makes over 101k per year. He was almost fired in November-check out the news articles on the internet. As far as Otter Creek goes, Doug Sanders blogs about everything he does; he's merely in it for the glory. He wants to be like Jesus, then he should help people and not get caught instead of broadcasting everything he does like he wants a Scooby snack. The situation could be a lot worse. There are thousands of homeless people who could be doing more damage if they became an angry mob. I, for one, like the idea of their being housed in transitional housing with rules within city limits so they have to follow city codes as well. People will see that folks are taking care of each other. The working homeless will be immediately housed, and can transition out into mainstream society and make room for the next one. Folks with mental health issues and other limitations can be dealt with by the remaining non-profits. Clifton Harris and his "Housing First" with "wraparound services" is a bullshit solution at a snail's pace to drag out the money. He needs to graduate from his ebonics course and stop saying things like "wif" and "bof". He makes enough money, he should know there is no "f" in "with" and "both". Dude, recognize. The public needs to demand measurable results or nothing will change. Peace.