Room in the Inn is a vibrant community center offering meals, support services and dozens of job training classes for individuals experiencing homelessness in Nashville, Tennessee. The people behind that effort do it with a focus on community, a strong sense of empathy and an abundance of friendship.
They also think a lot about safety. With the onset of the coronavirus, daily gatherings at Room in the Inn were replaced by curbside tent service that allowed those in need to sign up for a shower, drop off their laundry, pick up over-the-counter medications or see if they had received mail at the center’s address. Portable toilets and hand-washing stations were set up outside.
“A large part of what we do is nurturing relationships,” says Melanie Barnett, director of community development. “Room in the Inn’s unofficial motto is ‘Love Your Neighbor, Y’all,’ and that spirit has never waned. “We’re not just serving those in need, we’re in the community with those in need,” says Barnett. “That makes all the difference.”