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Fighting to keep shelter

Susan Adams certainly remembers one thing about sleeping under a bridge this fall.
“We about froze to death,” she said. “We were cold.”
Adams and her boyfriend, David McCormick, were forced to sleep under the bridge at Depot Bottom for three nights in October. They were out of money and had no other place to go.
“After that third night, we knew we had to get some help,” said McCormick.
“I had to use a rock for a pillow,” added Adams. “All we had was a thin blanket to keep warm. It was not good.”
The couple turned to the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency on Locust Street. It was there local UCHRA director Kim Luton helped them get back on their feet with immediate short-term shelter in a motel.
From there, Luton worked to get them a longer-term solution in a two-bedroom rental house on Peers Street. The dilapidated home doesn’t have a stove, refrigerator, or plumbing in the kitchen, but the couple is quick to stress it beats living under a bridge.
“We thought we had it all worked out,” said Luton. “They don’t have transportation, but the house is close enough where he can walk to work at Walmart. Unfortunately, the house is getting auctioned off next weekend and they don’t have any place to go.”
McCormick says they were barely given notice from their Nashville landlord the house was going up for auction this Saturday. They were told to leave the premises as soon as possible.
“This house isn’t much, but we were hoping to get back on our feet here,” said Adams, who grew up nearby on West End Avenue. “I really don’t know why they want to auction it. There are holes in the walls, leaks in the ceiling and the floor is caving in. Some of the windows are even broken so we put plastic up over them.”
The couple wants to find another place to live, but right now only has around $100. Adams says they need about twice that to get moved into even the most basic apartment with deposit requirements.
McCormick has been reliable as a cart puller at Walmart, but his ability to save is hampered by the fact he has to pay child support from his check. He says he would like to find a second job, but that’s been tough because he doesn’t own a vehicle. He says the cost of car insurance is a big reason why.
“This has been rough all the way around,” said McCormick. “I’m never going to be rich. I realize that. I’m always going to just get by.”
McCormick is honest about accepting blame for his situation.
“It’s nobody’s fault but mine. I only finished eighth grade,” he said. “But I really like this job. I get to interact with people and I get to help them too. If I can help an older lady get her groceries in the car, that makes my day.”


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