Neighbors in the Glencliff community in South Nashville continue to protest the construction of tiny houses for the homeless at a nearby church as the project moves forward.
Earlier this month, ground was broken for the Village at Glencliff, which will include 22 micro homes on the property of Glencliff United Methodist Church.
“This was the wrong place for it,” William Durkin, vice president of the Glencliff Neighborhood Association, told WKRN News 2. “They took over a fading church in an economically struggling neighborhood.”
Neighbors have dug up police reports related to Open Table Nashville, the interfaith nonprofit founded in 2010 that is behind the development of the Village at Glencliff. The reports show that a registered sex offender was housed by Open Table Nashville close to two schools, Durkin said. They also showed that an individual helped by Open Table Nashville stole checks from the nonprofit.
Open Table Nashville released a statement to WKRN saying, “When people receiving our services do not respect the boundaries we set, we work together and involve others when needed to ensure the safety and health of everyone involved.”
On the nonprofit’s website, co-founder Lindsey Krinks describes the group’s mission. “For us, an open table signifies fellowship, community, and radical inclusion,” Krinks says. “In other words, we’re not here just to make sure our friends on the streets get crumbs from the table. That is no more than charity. We’re here to make sure our friends have a place at the table, and that is about justice.”
Neighbors have sued Nashville’s Metro Board of Zoning Appeals to reverse its decision allowing the project to go forward. Zoning Administrator Bill Herbert has said state and federal laws exempt churches from land use regulations so as not to interfere with religious practice. But neighbors argue that because a separate nonprofit is spearheading the project, the protections allowed for churches should not apply.