Nashville Rescue Mission: Practicing Radical Hospitality to Keep Nashville Safely Housed

Nashville Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered community committed to helping those who are hungry, hurting, and experiencing homelessness by providing residential programs and services that focus on a person’s entire life — physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social. The mission practices what they like to call “radical hospitality,” says Vice President of Development Cheryl Chunn. “When people come here, they can get any sort of service they need. We have partnerships with organizations across the city to provide support. It takes a village, and we’ll do whatever it takes to help those experiencing homelessness.”

On any given day, their shelter houses as many as 800 men, women and children — members of the Nashville community who come to the mission for beds, food, bus tickets, mental health, addiction services, and partners with other providers for dental and OB/GYN services, and more. Some participate in a groundbreaking no-cost seven-month residential program to recover from drugs and alcohol and find stability in their lives. Although they’re faith-based, anyone is welcome to the Nashville Rescue Mission.

For 70 years, the Mission has operated their Men’s Campus downtown. Their Women’s Campus, off of Rosa Parks Boulevard, was recently torn down to make way for a brand-new campus to be built on the same location. A recent grant from The Frist Foundation has provided them the opportunity to break ground on a new building, which will open in the fall of 2023. And that’s important because recent circumstances have compounded the demand in Nashville for the Mission’s services. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly increased cleaning expenses and the need for more space to physically distance. Last winter’s unprecedented cold weather also saw more community members seeking shelter. The Frist Foundation answered the call, providing funding for both of these opportunities to help the Mission with the increased cleaning costs and to house some families in local hotels when temperatures dropped.

Every month, the Mission holds a graduation ceremony to celebrate those who finish their program – like Ron, a young man who came to the mission addicted to methamphetamines. The Mission helped him get back on his feet, get sober, and even go to college. Today he has a degree in aeronautics and works on planes. There are thousands of success stories like these across Nashville thanks to the Nashville Rescue Mission’s work — and many more to come.