Jeb Johnson films a segment in Nashville with homeless street activist, Howard Allen.

Jeb Johnson films a sequence in Nashville with homeless street activist, Howard Allen. (Photo: Stephen Newton

On a recent visit to Nashville, we were honored to meet Howard Allen, a homeless activist who works tirelessly to further help and services for those experiencing homelessness in the music city. Howard was our guide while we were in Nashville.  It was an honor to get to know him. His patience, intelligence, and never-ending optimism were an inspiration.

Howard stands near a wall posted with the names of homeless people who have dyed on the streets.

Howard stands near a wall posted with the names of homeless people who have died on the streets.

At left, Howard shows us a wall at Nashville’s Room In the Inn with the names of hundreds of people who have died homeless on the streets of Nashville. The organization  offers emergency services, transitional programs, and long-term solutions 365 days a year to help people rebuild their lives.

According to the Tennessean, Nashville’s homeless population increased by 5 percent in 2015, and Metro officials say they were unable to meet 15 percent of the overall demand for shelter. Those numbers are according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2015 Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness. The 33th annual report found that Nashville had 2,154 homeless people on an average night in 2015 — 470 on the streets, 1,124 in emergency shelters and 560 in transitional housing.