Micro Homes For Homeless Break Ground, Despite Neighbors’ Furor | Nashville Public Radio

Micro Homes For Homeless Break Ground, Despite Neighbors’ Furor

Oct 4, 2017

After months of intense community resistance, a local non-profit is moving forward on a cluster of micro homes for the homeless in Woodbine. It's been a controversial project for the neighborhood, resulting in shouting matches at community meetings and a lawsuit to stop it.

Ingrid McIntyre, the co-founder of the Nashville nonprofit behind the project, has spent months fighting community furor over the creation of these 22 micro homes.

"I don't think it's a secret that this has been a little bit controversial," McIntyre says. "And so we are thankful to folks who will walk through the fire with us."

On Wednesday, Open Table officially broke ground on a plot of land next to Glencliff United Methodist Church, its partner in the tiny home project.

A rendering of the micro homes planned for the Woodbine neighborhood.

The kind of person they anticipate having here is the chronically homeless with serious health problems, in need of stable housing to heal. Valegia Wilson was one of those individuals. While homeless she suffered injuries after being hit by a drunk driver. She says having Open Table find her somewhere to recuperate saved her life.

"They never never left me," Wilson says of Open Table's efforts to get her stable housing. "They kept me alive."

With this development they hope to help more people like Wilson.

But getting to this point has been rocky. After the plan for the homes was approved by Metro zoning in February, dozens of upset neighbors came out against it, arguing that Open Table was trying to skirt zoning laws with special privileges given to religious groups and putting the community at risk by housing the homeless.

To quell the outrage, Open Table launched a community council that meets monthly and will continue to meet after the project is completed.