East Nashville homeless camp is the latest of many to be removed for development


A homeless camp in East Nashville is one of many to be broken up in the name of safety and development.

Just a stones throw from the railroad tracks by Ellington Parkway, Pat Morgan made her home in a tent under some trees.

"It's close to everything I need," Morgan said. "Didn't have anyplace else to go."

Morgan hoped to stay in the Ellington Camp until she could find stable housing, but that's not going to be possible. CSX Railroad owns the land and recently told residents they need to move so the area can be bulldozed.

"Any activity on or near an active rail line is dangerous," CSX Spokesperson Christopher Smith said. "There is also concern over public health and safety due to illegal dumping that is occurring by outside parties at the site."

The railroad said it hopes to have the land clear by mid-August and is now working with the Metro Homeless Commission to help find residents another place to live.

Lindsey Krinks with homeless advocates Open Table Nashville said the closure at the Ellington Camp follows numerous other homeless camps that have been removed across Nashville. The camp closures started last year at Ft. Negley.

Krinks said private development is pushing many of them out of empty land, and there aren't options to create a new camp.

So many former camps have closed that Metro Nashville Police sent Open Table an e-mail telling the organization there are no longer options for camps along Ellington Parkway.

"We're saying the same thing we did with Ft. Negley; people have a right to exist," Krinks said. "You have to give people somewhere to go and live somewhat dignified lives."

Morgan said she has that now but has no idea where she'll find it when the bulldozers come.

"I'm trying to work on having a place to live," Morgan said. "Nowhere to go."

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