October 20, 2021: Yesterday, we received word that Judy Tackett was resigning from her role as the Director of the Metro Homeless Impact Division (MHID) effective immediately. This news rocked the homeless outreach and service provider community because she is a highly trusted, endlessly dedicated, strategic, compassionate, and innovative leader.
She has managed to unite members of the public and private sectors in order to move Nashville forward on issues of homelessness.
Judy’s departure draws attention to the dire need for the creation of an independent Department/Division of Housing and Homelessness in Nashville.* Advocates have been asking for this for the better part of a decade, and Mayor John Cooper included the creation of such an office in his campaign promises. The Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force also explicitly stated this need in their recommendations earlier this year.
If the Mayor’s Office and other city officials are serious about working toward innovative, evidence-based solutions to homelessness and our current housing crisis, they will listen and take action. There has never been a more important time to do so.
Leaders like Judy don’t come along every day, or even every decade. Those of us who have worked on the ground in this field understand that. Her letter to the community is below if you’d like to read about some of the things she has helped our city accomplish over the past 10+ years.
The status-quo response to Judy’s resignation would be for Metro leaders to simply rehire for her position. But if this happens, our city is missing a crucial opportunity–an opportunity to give a cutting-edge team the independence and resources they need to pioneer solutions and partnerships that will not only work, but will impact the lives of countless Nashvillians who are struggling to obtain and maintain affordable housing.
Now is the time for the creation of an independent Department/Division of Housing and Homelessness in Nashville.
*The creation of a new department would need the approval of Metro Council while a new division could be created by the Mayor’s Office.
*Please stay tuned for more updates and calls to action about this issue!