Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released an in-depth report examining the hunger and homelessness situations in 25 cities across the country, including Nashville.
The report said Nashville has serious issues with low wages, unaffordable housing, poverty and increasing numbers of domestic violence survivors with children who end up homeless. According to the report, homeless families in Nashville have increased by 25 percent in the last year and city officials expect these numbers to increase moderately in the coming year.
“Numbers like this are hard to grasp,” said Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission. “Because they aren’t just numbers, they are people—moms, dads and children. It’s heartbreaking, especially when it’s cold outside and the holidays are upon us. These families are facing a difficult situation. But there is hope.”
“We continue to see an increase in the number of homeless mothers with children coming to the Mission in need of food, shelter or other services,” said Cranfield. “Last year, the Mission averaged 30 children a night. Last night, over 70 children (and their mothers) slept at Nashville Rescue Mission. In 2013, this number has peaked as high as 90 children a night. It might be a little crowded, but we will make room. No one will be turned away.”
Nashville Rescue Mission provides more than just meals and beds. Some of the services for women and children include: counseling, work therapy, education, anger management, addiction recovery, Bible study, vocational training, parenting education, marriage and family enrichment, church involvement, physical fitness, grief and loss counseling and financial planning. Through creating a safe environment, the Mission is making a positive impact on the lives of the women and children who seek help after suffering trauma and abuse.
School-age children are provided with backpacks and school supplies. Mothers take parenting classes and are connected with outside resources to assist with daycare needs. Additionally, mothers of infants receive essential items needed to care for their baby. Children staying at the Mission have access to toys, books, a safe playground, video games and family appropriate movies.
“Nashville Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered community dedicated to helping the hungry, homeless and hurting,” said Cranfield. “We do not receive funding from local, state or federal governments. All services are provided at no cost to the individual seeking assistance. Our goal is to restore hope and transform lives by offering programs that focus on spiritual growth, education, employment and life recovery. Our doors are always open to those in need.”
Since 1954, Nashville Rescue Mission has been meeting the needs of the poor and homeless through emergency services and life recovery programs focusing on spiritual growth, education and employment with a goal of restoring hope and transforming lives. Nashville Rescue Mission is a nonprofit at 639 Lafayette Street in Nashville. For more information, visit nashvillerescuemission.org.