Write Your Tennessee Legislator Today to Support the CARE Act

The Compassionate Assistance and Right to Exist Act (CARE) before the Tennessee legislature this session has a real chance to improve how those experiencing homelessness are treated and facilitate our ability to help people in need. But time is of the essence if we hope to make a difference.

Rally by Richard Call (800x533 web)

The proposed CARE act, aims to do 5 things: (1) protect the rights of faith groups and other organizations seeking to assist people experiencing poverty and homelessness; (2) protect everyone’s right to life and liberty, and prioritize the safety of everyone on our streets by focusing on people who commit crimes rather than those who are participating in acts of daily living like sitting, sleeping, or simply existing in public; (3) save taxpayers and the State of TN money by reducing needless jail and court costs; (4) remove obstacles to stability that un-housed people often endure such as the loss of property, IDs, and driver’s licenses, barriers to employment, and unpayable fines, court costs, and jail time; and (5) ensure that the State of TN addresses homelessness as an economic and social issue and not a criminal one.

The CARE Act (HB2430/SB2453), sponsored by Rep. Mike Stewart and Sen. Ophelia Ford, is likely to come up before the House Civil Justice Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, March 26th. If we can get as many as 500 letters to state senators and representatives, ideally contacting them directly as well, we believe this bill might very well become law. Not a large number, but it only happens if we sit down and do it. Please encourage others you work with to join us. Here is a link to find out who your senator or representative is: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/  . Mailed personal letters get the most attention, but email can be effective, especially if you know your representative personally. To be effective, your email or letter should be received by Tuesday, March 25th.

We can make a difference, but only if we try.

Help Reclaim the Right to Rest Thursday, December 12

Members of Nashville Homeless Organizing Coalition will be bringing their lawn chairs and signs asking local government “Where have all our benches gone?” to the stretch of Church street by the Downtown Public Library on Thursday, December 12th from 11am -1pm.  Homeless individuals, formerly homeless individuals, and advocates plan to motivate their community to demand their benches back from the Public Works Department of Davidson County.


 Members of the Coalition successfully performed a similar action on World Homeless Day, October 10th, in which they sat in lawn chairs where public benches used to sit. Members handed out brochures educating residents of Nashville that work, live, and play in the downtown area of the disappearing benches. Since this action, the Coalition has launched a Communication Campaign to give residents the opportunity to have their voices heard by the Public Works Department of Davidson County.  This campaign includes writing letters, emails, and phoning Rory Rowan at the Public Works Department of Davidson County with concerns about the benches.

 The Coalition aims to restore every person’s right to rest. There is reason to believe that the 29 benches removed in a 3 block area near the Downtown Public Library have been removed to keep economically disadvantaged people from resting in these places. Additionally, it is evident that 13 benches are missing on Church Street from 5th to 7th Ave and 16 are missing on Capitol Blvd. from Church to Union.

Also, please  join our letter writing campaign and make our voices heard. Print and send in the example letter or create your own! (Personal letters are the most effective, but if you are busy, the main thing is that they hear from us–all you need to do is to copy the linked letter and replace the dummy personal info with your own, and print it out and send it.) The information to call Public Works is also in the letter. Thank you for your help and support to restore every person’s right to rest. And check back for more coming soon!

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