NOTE: The deadline for contributing to Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund was June 30, 2014. The final amount raised for How’s Nashville was $50,000, far more than anticipated. Thanks for all of your compassion and support.
The outpouring of love and good wishes since the death of my lovely wife Gail has been astonishing and very comforting to me. Thank you all so much.
One of the frequent questions I receive is, “How can we honor her memory?” A great way is to support Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund, a project she proposed before her death and is now being implemented, thanks to The Tennessean, How’s Nashville and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The biggest difference in her proposal versus the way it is now is the name. It is now named for her and she would have been so honored by that. Like many others, Gail recognized the homeless issue in Nashville and did her best to bring focus to it in her columns.
Not only did Gail write about it but, in her very “hands-on” way, she volunteered on projects that helped those who slept under no roof and had fallen on hard times. For several years, she served lunches prepared weekly at Downtown Presbyterian Church for the homeless and urban poor. She bought every issue of The Contributor, Nashville’s independent newspaper designed to help the homeless get off the street (and succeeds beautifully at that mission).
If you were one of Gail’s readers, I don’t have to tell you that she pulled no punches and did not advocate causes in which she did not believe with all her heart. Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund was her idea and she was looking forward to getting it going. So now, it’s underway.
How it works
Gail learned about an organization called How’s Nashville and wrote a column about it last year. Through How’s Nashville, people are getting off the streets and staying off the streets. The program’s success in keeping people in housing after moving in really impressed her. The following paragraph explains it:
How’s Nashville aligns itself with the national 100,000 Homes and is a collaborative community campaign to assist individuals and families who have experienced long-term homelessness and are among the most vulnerable population in the most vulnerable people in Davidson County. Currently more than 30 organizations representing the nonprofit, government, and business sectors work together to help individuals and families move from homelessness into permanent supportive housing as quickly as possible. We believe that a focus on the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community will save lives while we work together on streamlining our city’s housing placement process.
The How’s Nashville campaign focuses on:
* Implementing Housing First(moving people from the streets/shelters directly into permanent supportive housing)
* Collecting data (so we, as a community, understand the populations we are serving)
* Tracking our progress (evaluating outcomes to improve our approach)
* Improve our local system (streamlining our systems to benefit all populations)
I would personally like to thank The Tennessean for continuing this project and re-naming it for Gail, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for implementing the financial parts of this fund, How’s Nashville for this wonderful program, and everyone already donated Gail Kerr’s House the Homeless Fund.
Text and photos copyright 2014 by Les Kerr.