MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You won’t see them.
Even if you notice them you won’t see them.
Homeless people are invisible to most people.
Not here, though. Not in Memphis.
Kelcey Johnson of the Hospitality Hub advocacy group said, “It starts with listening to the people on the ground doing the work. And they’re instrumental in getting and finishing the work that needs to be done."
A women’s shelter is something Memphis needs. Currently those without homes live on the streets.
Hospitality Hub was going to build a 32-bed shelter on top of the old auto inspection station downtown. That turned out to be impossible.
According to Johnson, “In order for us to shore it up to carry that kind of weight - was going to cost $3-million, which is way out of our budget. So it was more effective to build a new shelter.”
The group has now also opened a day plaza. There are restrooms, lockers, and it’s an address that can be used when applying for a job.
“There were about 60 here the other day.” Johnson says, “... but we expect between 100 and 130 numbers soon, especially if the temperature drops, as we start serving coffee and putting in heaters. The busier it is, the more people we can get into treatment programs, into housing, and ultimately get them out.”