UPDATE: MNPD spokesman Don Aaron told The Tennessean: “The police department has no immediate plans to expel anyone from Cement Plant Road, so long as the camp remains non-violent. ... We continue to work with Open Table. They do good work. We’re trying to let that process run.”
After weeks of negotiation between homeless advocates and authorities, advocates say today is the deadline police have given homeless to leave as they attempt to shut down a camp on the Cumberland River in West Nashville.
From an email sent this morning by Lindsey Krinks:
Metro Police have said they will shut down a homeless encampment on the banks of the Cumberland River today and local homeless advocates, volunteers, and faith leaders have rallied behind them to say homelessness is not a crime. We are asking Metro to give outreach workers more time to work with the camp residents on housing. This is happening across Nashville (and across the nation... just this past week, a larger camp in Camden, NJ was raided) and there is nowhere for people to go... the shelters are full and the waiting list for affordable housing is long. Please help us spread awareness about this issue.
She said that the Central Precinct had given the group a May 16 deadline to leave.
Krinks, who has worked with the city's homeless population through her time as an undergraduate at Lipscomb and while in graduate school at Vanderbilt, said that the camp dwellers have run out of options.
"These people don't have anywhere else to go," she tells Pith. "Some people already have citations [from police]. They'll have to be forcibly removed."
Anyone wanting to help find a solution can email Krinks at lindsey [dot] krinks [at] gmail [dot] com.