MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) –
For more than 30 years, a place has served the homeless of Murfreesboro. In one month, the city says they have to go.
"We came to a town that was real small, real rural," said Neil "Tennessee" Mattis, walking his bike along a railroad track in Murfreesboro. "We couldn’t believe our eyes. This city really grew up."
Mattis said with a changing Murfreesboro has come a growing homeless community.
"I’m sure the city will do something to combat this homeless situation," he said.
Mattis said his group, called Wolf Pack, is getting supplies to the homeless in this heat.
"Start digging down deep and start helping people out," he said.
Mattis has just learned the city of Murfreesboro is not renewing the lease for the West Main Street homeless shelter, Room in the Inn.
City reps said Room in the Inn wasn’t supplying the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and Community Development Department with requested documents. It was because of that Room in the Inn lost their state funding. Reps also said Room in the Inn would not name their board members, a THDA requirement.
"There’s not enough beds for people to sleep," said Teresa Miller, a local homeless woman.
Miller echoed a concern of many in the homeless community, saying she struggled to be admitted into Room in the Inn. Still, she doesn’t want to see it go.
"I really hate that they’re closing it down, because there’s a lot of homeless people," she said. "There’s a lot of homeless women and children too."
Room in the Inn executive director Bobby Copeland declined to appear on camera but told Channel 4 he was blindsided by the city’s decision. When asked about the city’s claims, he would only say they’re looking at the situation. Copeland said they’re still deciding if they’ll continue in Murfreesboro. They have until June 30 to stay at their West Main Street location.
"Room in the Inn needs to stay open," Miller said. "They just need to make it better."
Mattis said he feels confident the city will do something to make up for the loss of Room in the Inn.
"I honestly think, and I’m being optimistic, of course, another place will open up soon," he said.
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