The City of Springfield, like other small cities, has insufficient resources to accommodate the rising number of homeless and transient individuals who have spilled over from the Nashville Metropolitan area. Often these individuals are present, recovering, or former substance abusers who are unable to secure employment or house themselves because of their additions and deterioration of basic life skills.
Local churches and community organizations are often hard-pressed to assist these persons past a temporary hotel stay or warm meal, and have repeatedly voice the need for adequate housing for these individuals in the form of shelters and temporary housing. Even more important is the need for structured programs and services to assist these individuals to recovery from the time they seek help. Besides GFCAC’s two homes, there is presently only one small shelter in the city of Springfield and Robertson County.
Additional resources are badly needed to meet this rising population and, more importantly, to provide a faith-based road to recovery.
The problems we are addressing are the inadequate quality, quantity, and positive community services accessible to the homeless, substance abusers, and indigent persons in Robertson County. Among the most critical problems identified in a series of community meetings are:
We believe that our target population of homeless, substance abusers, and indigent persons must be reached in the shortest period of time with a comprehensive and carefully executed program to secure shelters, provide education and build community support. The need for this kind of effort is extremely urgent. The economic and social costs of such a large number of homeless and substance abusers in our community will be disastrous. With this project, we will secure more shelters and design outreach services to address these problems and make them available to all segments of the Springfield community, especially targeting the areas in the community most populated by these individuals.
The U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development defines a homeless individual as someone who is living in a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or is leaving an institution where they temporarily resided. Here in Nashville, homelessness has increased by 9.8 percent from 2015 to 2016, which is the sixth largest leap among major U.S. cities. At the same time, two out of every five homeless people in Nashville are experiencing chronic homelessness, which is defined as someone who is lacking shelter while also battling medical issues, mental illness, or substance abuse, and that percentage tops all major U.S. cities.
Homelessness in Middle Tennessee at a glance:
The disabling conditions that qualify someone as being chronically homeless can vary from mental illness to domestic abuse. Most conditions and their relations to homelessness are considered to be cyclical, meaning that they perpetuate the homelessness as well as the condition’s own severity.
Mental Illness– According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health ServicesAdministration, 25 to 30% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. In comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009).
The main mental illnesses suffered from are schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and major depression.
Domestic Abuse– Recent statistics suggest that on a single night in January 2017, 16 percent of the overall homeless population, 87,329 people, reported having experienced domestic violence at some point. Furthering this is research from a study reported by the National Alliance to End Homelessness that indicates that one in five families experienced domestic violence five years before entering a shelter. Among families that reported this domestic violence in the prior five years, 88 percent reported that it heavily contributed to their homelessness.
Substance Abuse– About 38% of people experiencing homelessness abuse alcohol and this abuse is more common among seniors. Then about 26% of the homeless abuse drugs other than alcohol and this drug abuse is more common among younger homeless people.
DONATIONS TO GFCAC
All donations will be used towards operational support of our transitional homes, the Master’s Table soup kitchen, and for community programs and services. Your gift will make an immediate positive impact on someone suffering from addiction, homelessness, hunger, joblessness, poverty, grief, and other deep hurts.