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Churches shelter homeless during frigid blast

Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin prepares tonight to house at least 12 homeless guests at the church as part of the Nashville-based Room In the Inn, homeless shelter program. They will also provide a hot meal, warm clothing, breakfast and transportation. The church has been involved in the program for 20 years. Photo courtesy of Dywuan Brown

Last night, in the midst of the coldest winter blast since 1989, a few churches in Williamson County provided warmth, solace and sustenance for the homeless in Nashville, Williamson County and surrounding areas. 

“We accommodated about 14 guests last night,” said John Hill, associate pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin.

The Church is preparing to accommodate just as many guests again tonight. 

With dangerously low temperatures reaching a high of about 9 degrees Monday, nonprofit organizations like Nashville-based Room in the Inn, a homeless shelter program, have been working feverishly around the clock for the past 24 to 48 hours to get the homeless and vulnerable off the streets and under warm roofs.

Jeff Moles, community development director for Room in the Inn, said that the organization housed 434 homeless men, women and children last night in surrounding areas – the most people in the organization’s 26-year history – and they expect more tonight.

When Room in the Inn headquarters alerted surrounding churches about the need for extra beds over the next few days, Christ United Methodist heeded the call.

Without much trouble, Hill rallied extra volunteers to help house those in need Sunday through Tuesday at the church.

“It’s a no brainer,” Hill said. “Being out in temperatures like these can mean life or death for some. It’s something that we must do.”

Since the church is a long-time veteran of the program, they were prepared.

Christ United Methodist has been a participating location for the Room In the Inn for about 20 years of its 26-year history. For the past two decades, every Thursday night from November until March, at least 12 volunteers at Christ United Methodist gather to provide about 12 people made up of homeless individuals or families with a warm place to sleep, dinner, breakfast, clothes if needed, laundry, a shower and transportation during the coldest months of the year.

Hill, who has been involved with the church and the program for about four years, said that church members have a real heart for helping others in a tangible way and have remained committed to the program.

Room in the Inn, headquartered in downtown Nashville on 8th Avenue, partners with about 180 congregations in Middle Tennessee to provide a safe place for the homeless to sleep. With over 6,000 volunteers, Room In the Inn shelters almost 1,400 men and women during the coldest months from Nov. 1 through March 31 each year.

The People’s Church in Franklin, which also partners with Room In the Inn, housed about twelve guests last night just like every Monday night from November to March.

Kip Scott, director of property management, said that a Bible study group usually cooks dinner and eats with the guests every Monday, while other volunteers do laundry, provide transportation and entertainment and do whatever else is called for to accommodate guests for the night and morning.

Other participating churches include ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, First United Methodist Church of Franklin, First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Epworth United Methodist Church and Christ Community Church in Franklin.

Moles said that the organization is in need of hand warmers, over the counter cold and cough medications, cough drops and hot chocolate packets.

Room in the Inn is located at 705 Drexel St.
in Nashville. For more information call 615-251-9791 or visit

Posted on: 1/6/2014


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