Last Tuesday, the Red Cross shelter at Lipscomb closed down leaving over 50 homeless flood victims scrambling for a place to go. Some were able to afford a week’s rent at a cheap hotel, others were welcomed into churches for a week (thanks to Woodbine Presbyterian, McKendree United Methodist, and Belmont United Methodist!). But after a week of temporary fixes, our friends were, again, left with no place to lay their heads. So yesterday, several of us sent buses and vans out to all of the churches and hotels and brought everyone to Otter Creek Church. We served lunch and then announced that we had found a temporary site for Tent City. Thanks to one of Doug Sanders’ contacts, 2-3 acres of land in the Hickory Hollow area was donated.
We are thankful to have a safe place to take people to while they are transitioning from the streets to housing, but this temporary spot we’ve found is not ideal. We desperately need land in the city where people are able to find work and access vital services. We’re still waiting to hear back from a couple of pieces of land in the city, but there are no guarantees and for the time being, we are in limbo. There’s a lot of work to be done to make this land livable and we welcome anyone with weed eaters to come help us! This new site will be more structured than the old Tent City. The 30 individuals that went to camp there last night were all asked to sign a list of “Community Rules” that included adherence to all civil laws, no drinking outside one’s dwelling place, no violence or destruction of property, and a high level of responsibility for one another and the cleanliness of the camp.
If groups are interested in serving meals, especially dinner, at the new location, please contact Ingrid at email@example.com so we can coordinate. While most of the major needs of those camping were met through various donation drives, we’ll be posting other smaller needs as they come up. For instance, right now, we still need more bug spray and cooking items suitable for campfires. If you have those items and want to bring them out, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Doug Sanders at email@example.com. Make sure that you check out the new issue of The Contributor which hits the streets today for more on Tent City and other encampments. Also, if you’re interested, here’s a link to the recent City Paper article about Tent City.