Mad Housers Nashville!

I have some exciting news: We’re hoping to launch a Nashville chapter (of sorts) of The Mad Housers, and I’m looking for volunteers. We’re having an organizational meeting to inform and gauge community interest (read: recruit volunteers):

When: December 5th, 5:30PM
Where: Nashville Homeless Power Project Office, 42 Arcade (THE arcade downtown), Nashville, TN 37201

We are looking for all levels of commitment (seriously, at a bare minimum even merely showing up to swing a hammer is useful), so if you’re at all interested, read on:

a build

What/who are the Mad Housers? The Mad Housers are a non-profit homeless-aid organization based out of Atlanta. From their website, the goals are:

  • To provide shelter for homeless individuals and families regardless of race, creed, national origin, gender, religion, or age.
  • To develop low income housing for people in need of housing.
  • To help people develop the skills and knowledge for constructing and rehabilitating housing and shelter.
  • To increase the quantity and to improve the quality of housing in the world.
  • To act, if necessary as an advocate for the homeless, to ensure that their moral and civil rights are protected.

What does this actually translate to in practice? We have a few designs for small, sturdy “huts” that can be built and assembled for between $300-$500 and well under 50 man-hours. We then find reasonable candidate(s) for these huts – typically stable camps of homeless individuals already living in tents/makeshift shelter – and assemble the hut on location. The huts are not owned by Mad Housers. They are stable, safe, and secure – complete with a locking door.

The Mad Housers believe that if a person has a secure space from which to operate, they are much more capable of finding the resources to help themselves.

The organization in Atlanta currently has around 50 occupied huts around the metro area. But will this work in Nashville? Simply put: we don’t know. Nashville is a smaller city with a much more hostile attitude towards its homeless population. Luckily, the folks at the Nashville Homeless Power Project have graciously offered to help out where they can, and they believe it could work. If anyone would know, it’s them.

In addition to volunteers, there are some other things we need:

  • People with access to pickup trucks
  • 2x4s
  • Plywood, 3/8”-3/4” thickness
  • 1/2” sheet insulation
  • Nails - 16, 8 and 6 penny.
  • Roll roofing, roofing tacks
  • Doors and hinges (solid core doors only, please)
  • Hammers, saws, tape measures, string lines, and other carpentry tools
  • Firewood</liI>
    • Caulking materials
    • Industrial garbage bags</ul> Again, if you’re at all interested, please join us at the meeting. If you have any friends/family that you think would be interested, pass this on to them. RSVP is not required, but feel free to let me know if you plan on attending so we can get a feel for attendance.

    Please come on out – if you’ve ever wanted to do something about Nashville’s growing homeless problem, this is a way you can contribute – even if it’s just on the occasional Saturday morning. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me. Also be sure to check out the Mad Housers’ Website, this article in the AJC and this interview with former President Nick Hess.