Just the Basics
Most of us take it for granted that the lights will come on when we flip the switch, and that we can get a drink from the faucet at any time. We know where our families will be sleeping tonight and can be certain that they’ll be warm.
But thousands of our neighbors aren’t certain that their most basic necessities. They worry about becoming homeless or having critical utility services disconnected.
NeedLink Nashville is here to help. We help families, seniors, and people facing an unexpected crisis to avoid homelessness and stay connected to power, water, and natural gas service.
A Tradition of Service
In 1912, Nashville’s downtown businessmen sold a special edition of The Nashville Tennessean one Christmas Eve. Calling themselves the Big Brothers, these caring city leaders filled peach baskets with groceries and delivered them to the shanty towns that lined the Railroad Gulch and the Cumberland River.
In 2015, NeedLink Nashville continues our city’s oldest holiday giving tradition for a 104th year. Civic clubs will deliver a special edition paper to area homes asking for community support. And dozens of volunteers will package and deliver groceries to 1,000 local families and seniors.
Why It Matters
Nashville is no longer gripped by the extreme poverty of those early years, when Big Brother Elmer Bryant reported delivering food to people "so hungry they were gnawing on bones".
But in Music City today, many of our neighbors struggle to meet their most basic needs. And as the cost of housing rises rapidly, Nashville natives can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Working people are pushed into public housing because it is all that they can afford. Waiting lists for affordable housing grow long for our poorest neighbors, leaving families homeless, living in motels or doubled up in small apartments.
NeedLink matters for Evelyn. After her husband passed away, Evelyn was living on a Social Security payment of $1,280 per month. This past winter, she had problems with her HVAC unit, which led to a $500 power bill for December, plus a $450 repair bill. Evelyn can’t receive food stamps because she has too much income, so she was faced with the choice of paying her power bill, buying food, or getting her heart medicine. NeedLink paid a portion of Evelyn’s bill and helped her submit an application to one of our Financial Assistance Coalition partners to get even more help getting caught up.
NeedLink matters for Nathan. Nathan never expected that he would be raising his two daughters alone. They both caught the flu last February, one after another, and he missed two weeks of flooring work as a result. He got behind on his bill, and one morning, his power was cut off. He was panicked when he arrived at NeedLink’s office. He needed electricity to cook dinner for his little girls and for them to do their homework. NeedLink was able to reconnect his service before his daughters came home from school that day.
NeedLink matters for Keyara, Kaira, Keyona, and Krishon. Keyara was trying to make life better for her kids, and began working at a temp agency. Because her rent at Cayce Place is based on her income, it went up when she started working. After a few months, her job ended unexpectedly, and it was going to take another month to have her rent readjusted. Keyara and her three children were about to be evicted. She was nervous about how her son, who is autistic, would fare in a crowded shelter. NeedLink was able to help Keyara with a portion of her rent so that her family did not become homeless.
Jann Seymour, MPA
Meredith Anne MacLeod, LMSW
Program Services Manager
Sarah K. Moore, BSW
Client Services Coordinator
Kendra Cotton, MSW
Community Investment Manager
Governing Board of Directors
Linda Payne, President City National Bank
Heather Pedigo, Vice-President Covance
Marion Southall-White, Secretary Community Volunteer
Tim Hill, Treasurer Community Volunteer
Jeremy R. Brooks Parallon
Gay Eisen, Compliance Officer Attorney-At-Law
Brian Lee, Past President Regions Bank
Vikki Gray Kraft CPAs
John Lasiter Barnes & Noble
Lynn Vincent Ensworth School
Michael White Nissan, First Baptist Church of South Inglewood
Taryn Anderson FBMM
Harry Alexander Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church
Jeremy Brooks Parallon
Benji Davis Piedmont Natural Gas
Susan Doughty Community Volunteer
Caroline Gumpenberger National Healthcare for the Homeless Council
Dr. Mary Hutchens Vanderbilt University
Brandon Khanna Community Volunteer
Bo Patten Village Real Estate
Josh South Bank of America