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ABOUT

The mission of the UNLOCKED Voices is to elevate the voices of people in our community by creating a platform for them to share their unique stories and underrepresented perspectives.

Through this, we strive to break down the stigma of homelessness, foster deeper empathy and raise community consciousness so that, together, we can act towards change.

"I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight."

"I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight."

“I never thought this day right here would come because for the last couple years all I’ve been thinking is ‘We’re gonna be in a tent for the rest of our lives’ and then [my boyfriend] had a stroke down there… and I almost got frostbitten, they cut my tent up and stole from me... I can’t say it’s all been bad… My tent became my home. It really did.” 

 

“It’s been a long waiting process cuz we’ve been on the waiting list for like three years for any kind of metro house… So all of a sudden this year, they called, they emailed us and said that... he was gonna get it this year. They pulled him out of the lottery... I had to advocate and keep following through... And it was a bumpy road waiting on them… And I gave it to God. I was going to the church on Saturday mornings, and I just prayed, and I said ‘What’s wrong? I know I ain’t no saint.’ I said, ‘We are tired. I don’t understand why.’ And the preacher, he said ‘You know why it’s so hard right now?’ He said, ‘You know why you struggling and the Devil’s beating you right now?’ I said ‘Why?’ He said ‘Cuz you're on the verge of a breakthrough.’ I promise you that’s what he told me.”

 

“I said, ‘Look. Listen. I gave it to God. I told God it’s what I wanted.’ I said, ‘I don’t care what y’all say. God gonna give me my house for Christmas. And I’m done, I don’t even wanna talk no more about it.’ I told everybody it’d be Wednesday. She called Monday and said ‘You can move in Tuesday.’”

 

“Tell you real genuine, I go down there, and I see people down there still. At first, I felt bad cuz we were leaving, but then I don’t feel bad because I know we put in the work to get out of there... I mean, just cuz I’m out, I’m still the same [name] that lived in that tent down there. I don’t think I’m better. I’m still the same… I’m like, ‘Y’all are my family, I’m still coming back over here’ to visit them. I’m just basking in it… I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight or in a couple of months; this has taken some years, so I have a right to boast cuz this has been a long time coming.”


"Sometimes things are good and sometimes they're bad, but it's still a gift."

Nashville, TN

"Sometimes things are good and sometimes they're bad, but it's still a gift."

"Believe it or not, my gift is encouragement. Well, first I need to encourage myself. You know, I'm doing okay. I sometimes struggle with depression, but when I do I write down all the things I'm thankful for. It's an attitude thing. Here's an example: I used to be upset I didn't have shoes until I saw someone with no feet. You know what I mean? It's an attitude thing. Sometimes things are good and sometimes things are bad, but it's still a gift."

"She said, 'Dad, I had my baby.' I didn't know."

Nashville, TN

"She said, 'Dad, I had my baby.' I didn't know."

"My daughter, after she had her baby, she came down here right here and parked and she said “Dad, I had my baby.” I didn’t know. And so I showed her where me and [my girlfriend] stays at, so she hasn’t came out there either, so I don’t know. I gotta go check on her. I haven’t gone out there in about a month."

"And that was the first time he’d told me the truth."

Nashville, TN

"And that was the first time he’d told me the truth."

"People sometimes say ‘why are you homeless?’ And I tell them ‘you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. You ever seen one of those lifetime movies and you’re like ‘that would never really happen’? Well it happens. I sometimes feel like I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t been me. 

He said, pardon my French, ‘If you try to leave me I will F*** YOU UP and take everything.' And that was the first time he’d told me the truth. He was conniving."

"But the best part is the community. The people.”

Community Care Fellowship

"But the best part is the community. The people.”

"I was on section 8. A new owner bought the old owner out. So they said ‘Anybody on Section 8, you got 60 days to get out.’ So I’ve been gone since July 1st. I’m like ‘Why am I being punished for something I didn’t do?’ 60 day notice, after living there for nine and a half years on Section 8. Well, I guess things happen for a reason. I don’t know. I might find a better place. And the same bedroom that Section 8 was helping me out on, I was paying $650. I paid half, they paid half. The same one bedroom now is $1100. The same bedroom! Ain’t no bigger than a match box. It’s not Section 8 housing anymore."

"
It’s really crazy. I mean I never expected something like that to happen, and especially after nine and a half years on Section 8. It’s scary right now for me because I have health issues and can’t work anymore. I’ve been disabled since 2009. You know, Community Care Fellowship is a really good thing for homeless people. I get to take hot showers here. I do my laundry. I just came in today to get warm *laughs*. But the best part is the community. The people."

"It feels good to get to talk to someone."

Nashville, TN

"It feels good to get to talk to someone."

"You know, I like to smile at people as they drive by. It's nice to see something change. Even something little. You can make people's day better just by smiling at them. It feels good to get to talk to someone." 

"I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

Nashville, TN

"I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

“I haven’t seen them in about two years. I miss them. I could call them. Especially my granddaughter. She be like, ‘Granny, what you doin?’ She’s like eight. And then about two weeks ago, my daughter called, I wanted her to. But she probably do know that I… She said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I said ‘Nothing’s wrong,’ and she said ‘Mama, I miss you, and I want you to come home.’ I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

“The thing about me and my mama, they don’t know about it. I’d rather not tell her. My mama’s older, and I don't want her to be out here worrying about me. I said, ‘I’ve got somewhere to stay.’ I think she’s kinda wondering. Every time I talk to her says, ‘Tell me. Something’s wrong.’”

“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do."

Nashville, TN

“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do."

“I call them [foster parents]. They ask me about it all the time. I don’t really tell them because I’m ashamed, you know? I tell them ‘Hey I’m doing this,’ and oh well ‘We taught you better than that’ or whatever and ‘We know we’re not your parents, but we taught you better than that.

Which, I mean, it’s really not by choice, the reason why I’m in this situation. It’s just, you know, we grew apart, me and the mother of my kids, we grew apart. I mean looking back I should have done things better as far as not leave like I did. But I felt like it would be better for the kids because, you know, we didn’t get along. I thought that, maybe if I left, maybe we could get back together eventually. But it didn’t work so. It kind of blew up in my face.”

“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do. I’ll be like ‘Hey I’ve been through this,’ and I look back on it and I’ll just kind of chuckle at it. I want to get to that point.”

"I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight."

"I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight."

“I never thought this day right here would come because for the last couple years all I’ve been thinking is ‘We’re gonna be in a tent for the rest of our lives’ and then [my boyfriend] had a stroke down there… and I almost got frostbitten, they cut my tent up and stole from me... I can’t say it’s all been bad… My tent became my home. It really did.” 

 

“It’s been a long waiting process cuz we’ve been on the waiting list for like three years for any kind of metro house… So all of a sudden this year, they called, they emailed us and said that... he was gonna get it this year. They pulled him out of the lottery... I had to advocate and keep following through... And it was a bumpy road waiting on them… And I gave it to God. I was going to the church on Saturday mornings, and I just prayed, and I said ‘What’s wrong? I know I ain’t no saint.’ I said, ‘We are tired. I don’t understand why.’ And the preacher, he said ‘You know why it’s so hard right now?’ He said, ‘You know why you struggling and the Devil’s beating you right now?’ I said ‘Why?’ He said ‘Cuz you're on the verge of a breakthrough.’ I promise you that’s what he told me.”

 

“I said, ‘Look. Listen. I gave it to God. I told God it’s what I wanted.’ I said, ‘I don’t care what y’all say. God gonna give me my house for Christmas. And I’m done, I don’t even wanna talk no more about it.’ I told everybody it’d be Wednesday. She called Monday and said ‘You can move in Tuesday.’”

 

“Tell you real genuine, I go down there, and I see people down there still. At first, I felt bad cuz we were leaving, but then I don’t feel bad because I know we put in the work to get out of there... I mean, just cuz I’m out, I’m still the same [name] that lived in that tent down there. I don’t think I’m better. I’m still the same… I’m like, ‘Y’all are my family, I’m still coming back over here’ to visit them. I’m just basking in it… I’m a success story, but I just want people to know that this did not happen overnight or in a couple of months; this has taken some years, so I have a right to boast cuz this has been a long time coming.”

Read more →


"But the best part is the community. The people.”

Community Care Fellowship

"But the best part is the community. The people.”

"I was on section 8. A new owner bought the old owner out. So they said ‘Anybody on Section 8, you got 60 days to get out.’ So I’ve been gone since July 1st. I’m like ‘Why am I being punished for something I didn’t do?’ 60 day notice, after living there for nine and a half years on Section 8. Well, I guess things happen for a reason. I don’t know. I might find a better place. And the same bedroom that Section 8 was helping me out on, I was paying $650. I paid half, they paid half. The same one bedroom now is $1100. The same bedroom! Ain’t no bigger than a match box. It’s not Section 8 housing anymore."

"
It’s really crazy. I mean I never expected something like that to happen, and especially after nine and a half years on Section 8. It’s scary right now for me because I have health issues and can’t work anymore. I’ve been disabled since 2009. You know, Community Care Fellowship is a really good thing for homeless people. I get to take hot showers here. I do my laundry. I just came in today to get warm *laughs*. But the best part is the community. The people."

Read more →


"Sometimes things are good and sometimes they're bad, but it's still a gift."

Nashville, TN

"Sometimes things are good and sometimes they're bad, but it's still a gift."

"Believe it or not, my gift is encouragement. Well, first I need to encourage myself. You know, I'm doing okay. I sometimes struggle with depression, but when I do I write down all the things I'm thankful for. It's an attitude thing. Here's an example: I used to be upset I didn't have shoes until I saw someone with no feet. You know what I mean? It's an attitude thing. Sometimes things are good and sometimes things are bad, but it's still a gift."

Read more →


"It feels good to get to talk to someone."

Nashville, TN

"It feels good to get to talk to someone."

"You know, I like to smile at people as they drive by. It's nice to see something change. Even something little. You can make people's day better just by smiling at them. It feels good to get to talk to someone." 

Read more →


"She said, 'Dad, I had my baby.' I didn't know."

Nashville, TN

"She said, 'Dad, I had my baby.' I didn't know."

"My daughter, after she had her baby, she came down here right here and parked and she said “Dad, I had my baby.” I didn’t know. And so I showed her where me and [my girlfriend] stays at, so she hasn’t came out there either, so I don’t know. I gotta go check on her. I haven’t gone out there in about a month."

Read more →


"I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

Nashville, TN

"I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

“I haven’t seen them in about two years. I miss them. I could call them. Especially my granddaughter. She be like, ‘Granny, what you doin?’ She’s like eight. And then about two weeks ago, my daughter called, I wanted her to. But she probably do know that I… She said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I said ‘Nothing’s wrong,’ and she said ‘Mama, I miss you, and I want you to come home.’ I want to go home too, but I don’t wanna go home with nothing.”

“The thing about me and my mama, they don’t know about it. I’d rather not tell her. My mama’s older, and I don't want her to be out here worrying about me. I said, ‘I’ve got somewhere to stay.’ I think she’s kinda wondering. Every time I talk to her says, ‘Tell me. Something’s wrong.’”

Read more →


"And that was the first time he’d told me the truth."

Nashville, TN

"And that was the first time he’d told me the truth."

"People sometimes say ‘why are you homeless?’ And I tell them ‘you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. You ever seen one of those lifetime movies and you’re like ‘that would never really happen’? Well it happens. I sometimes feel like I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t been me. 

He said, pardon my French, ‘If you try to leave me I will F*** YOU UP and take everything.' And that was the first time he’d told me the truth. He was conniving."

Read more →


“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do."

Nashville, TN

“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do."

“I call them [foster parents]. They ask me about it all the time. I don’t really tell them because I’m ashamed, you know? I tell them ‘Hey I’m doing this,’ and oh well ‘We taught you better than that’ or whatever and ‘We know we’re not your parents, but we taught you better than that.

Which, I mean, it’s really not by choice, the reason why I’m in this situation. It’s just, you know, we grew apart, me and the mother of my kids, we grew apart. I mean looking back I should have done things better as far as not leave like I did. But I felt like it would be better for the kids because, you know, we didn’t get along. I thought that, maybe if I left, maybe we could get back together eventually. But it didn’t work so. It kind of blew up in my face.”

“I’ll eventually tell them. But hopefully I’ll be in a better situation when I do. I’ll be like ‘Hey I’ve been through this,’ and I look back on it and I’ll just kind of chuckle at it. I want to get to that point.”

Read more →