photography by tasha a. f. lemley photography by tasha a. f. lemley

metropolitan homelessness commission

  • Anita

    Anita

    Nita is a graduate of Entrepreneurial Guidance Center and is a former business owner several times over. Some of the self-described reasons for her homelessness are bad choices mixed with addiction (alcoholism) and abuse (domestic violence), major depression and physical limitations. She is an advocate in the community for survivors of domestic violence. She ministers to others at the bus terminal - praying with them and meeting some needs, when she can, such as food, money and clothes. She currently lives out. "It's challenging every day, but I go on and trust in God for total deliverance."
  • Anita

    Anita

    Nita is a graduate of Entrepreneurial Guidance Center and is a former business owner several times over. Some of the self-described reasons for her homelessness are bad choices mixed with addiction (alcoholism) and abuse (domestic violence), major depression and physical limitations. She is an advocate in the community for survivors of domestic violence. She ministers to others at the bus terminal - praying with them and meeting some needs, when she can, such as food, money and clothes. She currently lives out. "It's challenging every day, but I go on and trust in God for total deliverance."
  • James

    James

    At the age of 18 James was homeless for 10 months and then joined the circus for 2 years. He's not addicted to drugs and doesn't drink. Due to a felony theft (his first and only criminal charge) he spent 90 days in jail during which time he lost his apartment, job and dog, leading to this current span of homelessness.
  • James

    James

    At the age of 18 James was homeless for 10 months and then joined the circus for 2 years. He's not addicted to drugs and doesn't drink. Due to a felony theft (his first and only criminal charge) he spent 90 days in jail during which time he lost his apartment, job and dog, leading to this current span of homelessness.
  • Dumas

    Dumas

  • Lisa

    Lisa

  • Joe

    Joe

  • Chuck

    Chuck

    Formerly homeless gardener and writer.
  • Chuck

    Chuck

    Formerly homeless gardener and writer.
  • Chuck

    Chuck

    Formerly homeless gardener and writer.
  • Tim

    Tim

    Following a divorce, Tim lived in an Antioch campsite for a time before moving in with an East Nashville friend. Due to layoffs, they are now facing threats of eviction. Tim has applied at more than a dozen local places looking for work. He has a bachelor's in Anthropology and is a writer, explorer, adventurer and spiritual guide. He has never had a driver's license. Tim struggles with depression/dysthymia.
  • Tim

    Tim

  • Tony and Quita

    Tony and Quita

    Tony has been homeless since October 2008. He was a live-in maintenance man at an apartment complex in exchange for free rent and utilities. Ownership changed hands and he was informed "We don't need no live-in maintenance man." He is a culinary chef and uses the computers at the library to fill out job applications. "I just hope somebody calls us back one day." He was just kicked out of an abandoned house he and his wife, Quita, were squatting in.

    Quita has been with Tony since 2007. She has 10 years of experience in fast food management.
  • Quita and Tony

    Quita and Tony

    Tony has been homeless since October 2008. He was a live-in maintenance man at an apartment complex in exchange for free rent and utilities. Ownership changed hands and he was informed "We don't need no live-in maintenance man." He is a culinary chef and uses the computers at the library to fill out job applications. "I just hope somebody calls us back one day." He was just kicked out of an abandoned house he and his wife, Quita, were squatting in.

    Quita has been with Tony since 2007. She has 10 years of experience in fast food management.
  • Tony

    Tony

    Tony has been homeless since October 2008. He was a live-in maintenance man at an apartment complex in exchange for free rent and utilities. Ownership changed hands and he was informed "We don't need no live-in maintenance man." He is a culinary chef and uses the computers at the library to fill out job applications. "I just hope somebody calls us back one day." He was just kicked out of an abandoned house he and his wife, Quita, were squatting in.

    Quita has been with Tony since 2007. She has 10 years of experience in fast food management.
  • Quita

    Quita

    Tony has been homeless since October 2008. He was a live-in maintenance man at an apartment complex in exchange for free rent and utilities. Ownership changed hands and he was informed "We don't need no live-in maintenance man." He is a culinary chef and uses the computers at the library to fill out job applications. "I just hope somebody calls us back one day." He was just kicked out of an abandoned house he and his wife, Quita, were squatting in.

    Quita has been with Tony since 2007. She has 10 years of experience in fast food management.
  • Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf

  • Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf

  • Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf

  • Theresa and Papa Smurf

    Theresa and Papa Smurf

  • Theresa

    Theresa

    Very open spirit. 9 years homeless.

    "Home is where you hang your heart. It's not about a structure at all." Transitioning into housing.
  • Theresa

    Theresa

    Very open spirit. 9 years homeless.

    "Home is where you hang your heart. It's not about a structure at all." Transitioning into housing.
  • Theresa

    Theresa

    Very open spirit. 9 years homeless.

    "Home is where you hang your heart. It's not about a structure at all." Transitioning into housing.
  • David

    David

    First time homeless. He owned a condo in Bellevue and got laid off from his job in drywall construction the day after Thanksgiving 2008. 3rd week of February 2009, he lost his home and wife and started staying at the Mission. He has arthritis/degenerative joint disease in both knees. David hopes to get his CDL back and go OTR. He is currently drawing unemployment.
  • David

    David

    First time homeless. He owned a condo in Bellevue and got laid off from his job in drywall construction the day after Thanksgiving 2008. 3rd week of February 2009, he lost his home and wife and started staying at the Mission. He has arthritis/degenerative joint disease in both knees. David hopes to get his CDL back and go OTR. He is currently drawing unemployment.
  • John

    John

    Honorably-discharged Air Force veteran. John has no history of drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness. He has been homeless off and on for 15 years - this time for 6 months. He is a high school graduate and completed some technical college. He desires more education. John needs a place to stay (transitional) until he can find a job. Sleeps out.
  • John

    John

    Honorably-discharged Air Force veteran. John has no history of drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness. He has been homeless off and on for 15 years - this time for 6 months. He is a high school graduate and completed some technical college. He desires more education. John needs a place to stay (transitional) until he can find a job. Sleeps out.
  • John

    John

    Honorably-discharged Air Force veteran. John has no history of drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness. He has been homeless off and on for 15 years - this time for 6 months. He is a high school graduate and completed some technical college. He desires more education. John needs a place to stay (transitional) until he can find a job. Sleeps out.
  • Shirley

    Shirley

    Formerly homeless. Survivor and Advocate.
  • Tee Tee

    Tee Tee

  • Momma

    Momma

  • Eileen

    Eileen

    Recovering alcoholic, survivor of sever domestic violence. Homeless going on 2 years.

    "If I'm anything, I'm, resilient."
  • Renata

    Renata

    "I'm a better person for experiencing this. It's not all about me."

    Renata has been homeless for 3 years. She struggles with depression and addiction stemming from automobile death of her only child - a 22-year-old daughter.

    "She was the light of my life. My best friend."
  • O. Family

    O. Family

    Veteran. 1 1/2 years homeless. Living in a campsite with his wife, daughter and future son-in-law. Came to Nashville on a false job promise.
  • O. Family

    O. Family

    Veteran. 1 1/2 years homeless. Living in a campsite with his wife, daughter and future son-in-law. Came to Nashville on a false job promise.
  • O. Family

    O. Family

    Veteran. 1 1/2 years homeless. Living in a campsite with his wife, daughter and future son-in-law. Came to Nashville on a false job promise.
  • O. Family

    O. Family

    Veteran. 1 1/2 years homeless. Living in a campsite with his wife, daughter and future son-in-law. Came to Nashville on a false job promise.
  • Dr. John

    Dr. John

    Homeless since 12/26/05. John struggles with depression. He used to be a track star in school. "I'll sleep on the ground - I'll sleep almost anywhere." His back has a pinched nerve and he's trying to get SSI. " There's a lot wrong with my body - it's getting old, it's breaking down."
  • Dr. John

    Dr. John

    Homeless since 12/26/05. John struggles with depression. He used to be a track star in school. "I'll sleep on the ground - I'll sleep almost anywhere." His back has a pinched nerve and he's trying to get SSI. " There's a lot wrong with my body - it's getting old, it's breaking down."
  • Nikki

    Nikki

    Nikki grew up in housing projects and experienced homelessness as a teenager (15) when she left home and slept porch to porch, house to house, anywhere someone would allow.

    She barely graduated from high school with a low GPA and was denied entrance into college. However, MTSU admitted her when she wrote a letter to them explaining her situation and desire to further her education. She got her bachelor's in Human Relations (3.0 GPA) and is now currently pursuing her Master's of Counseling at Trevecca with a 3.4 GPA.

    Having already two failed pregnancies and pregnant again at the age of 20, she reconciled with her mother and moved in with her in housing projects and had her son - who is now healthy, smart and 12 years old. He is doing very well in school.

    At 21 years old, she became a Christian and started having Bible studies with local youth. She got a job with NES, which she kept for 8 years, got out of debt and purchased a house (at 25) all from the projects.

    3 months after she moved into her new house, 2 kids from the housing projects called and needed a place to stay. She let them move in with her. She recently opened a house in East Nashville for aged-out of foster care girls.

    Currently there are 3 girls, and a house mom, living there. The capacity is 5 girls. "It's my mission to reach back to those girls who are like I was." She is opening another house in Murfreesboro.

    Nikki won the Bank of America local hero award of $5K last year. She is now working with her girls full-time. It costs about $300 per girl per month to house them. She is working off of individual donations.
  • Katrina and Joanna

    Katrina and Joanna

    "It's hard. You don't ever know what's gonna happen." Katrina was homeless for 5 months recently in a tent with a friend. She didn't know if she'd ever be able to be with her daughter. After seeing an article written about them (in The Contributor) a woman offered to have Katrina and Joanna move in with her. Katrina hopes to get her own place and be able to take care of Joanna like she needs to.
  • Katrina and Joanna

    Katrina and Joanna

    "It's hard. You don't ever know what's gonna happen." Katrina was homeless for 5 months recently in a tent with a friend. She didn't know if she'd ever be able to be with her daughter. After seeing an article written about them (in The Contributor) a woman offered to have Katrina and Joanna move in with her. Katrina hopes to get her own place and be able to take care of Joanna like she needs to.
  • Katrina and Joanna

    Katrina and Joanna

    "It's hard. You don't ever know what's gonna happen." Katrina was homeless for 5 months recently in a tent with a friend. She didn't know if she'd ever be able to be with her daughter. After seeing an article written about them (in The Contributor) a woman offered to have Katrina and Joanna move in with her. Katrina hopes to get her own place and be able to take care of Joanna like she needs to.
  • Charles

    Charles

    4 years homeless New Year's eve. Getting married for the first time.
  • Glenn

    Glenn

    Homeless 8 years. Sleeps out downtown. Leg amputation following staff infection following knee replacement.
  • Glenn

    Glenn

    Homeless 8 years. Sleeps out downtown. Leg amputation following staff infection following knee replacement.
  • James

    James

    Homeless 8-10 years. Sleeps out downtown.
  • James

    James

    Homeless 8-10 years. Sleeps out downtown.
  • Steven

    Steven

    Homeless about 1 year. Starting to learn to play the guitar. Couch-hopping or sleeping out.
  • Steven

    Steven

    Homeless about 1 year. Starting to learn to play the guitar. Couch-hopping or sleeping out.
  • Jacqueline

    Jacqueline

  • Jacqueline

    Jacqueline

  • Buddy

    Buddy

  • Buddy

    Buddy

  • Buddy

    Buddy

  • Buddy

    Buddy

  • Shelly

    Shelly

  • Buddy and Shelly

    Buddy and Shelly

  • Carl

    Carl

  • Carl

    Carl

  • Carl

    Carl

  • Carl

    Carl

  • Johnny

    Johnny

  • Johnny

    Johnny

    With prison chaplain (and former homeless outreach worker) Jeannie.
  • Johnny

    Johnny

  • Johnny

    Johnny

  • Ron

    Ron

  • metropolitan homelessness commission - photography by tasha a. f. lemley
  • Wayne

    Wayne

  • Wayne

    Wayne

  • Wayne

    Wayne

  • Nathan

    Nathan

  • Nathan

    Nathan

  • Mary

    Mary

  • Keysha and Mary

    Keysha and Mary

  • Keysha

    Keysha