Well, which is it?
The residents of Tent City must be feeling a bit confused about the future of their formerly-soon-to-be-erstwhile shanty town. In an 11th-hour kowtow to pressure from supporters, Mayor Karl Dean gave Tent City a hangman’s reprieve from the bulldozer’s tracks. A protest was planned for this afternoon, though the tenor of it will certainly have changed—from Metro hate-fest to humanitarian love-in.
Instead of the Nov. 1 clear-out date, Mayor Dean has charged the Metro Homelessness Commission with assessing the best course of action and making a recommendation. It’s not exactly the united front you’d expect from the city after Metro Nashville Police put a firm boot down on Tent City’s fate—Chief Serpas probably feels like an undermined parent by now. The hope is that those who remain will find a more suitable living situation that doesn’t involve squatting in breezy shelters during Middle Tennessee’s mild but cold-enough winter.
The city’s public agencies originally dictated Tent City’s closure after sanitation complaints and a Labor Day stabbing drew public attention. In response, an effort to clean up the piling garbage began. Its shuttering since then has been a moving target as homeless outreach workers plead for more time to relocate the most infirm residents.