Due primarily to the economic recession, a growing number of people are finding themselves in a position they never imagined: homeless.
Nashville, TN is home to a fast rising tent city population. With a shelter system that cannot support even 1 out of 5 of the city’s homeless population, most people have nowhere to go. Nearly 100 homeless individuals have come together to form Nashville’s Tent City, which is located under a bridge close to the city’s center.
Tent City, U.S.A. explores this community, which is self-sustained and self-governed. The camp has it’s own council, composed of eight camp residents who meet once a week to discuss residents’ issues.
The huge topic of the moment – one that has the whole camp in turmoil – is that the camp must be moved by fall, 2010. Due to the fact that the camp is on land owned by the Department of Public Transportation, the residents have no choice but to find somewhere else to go. Because they consider themselves a community and a family, they are determined to make this move together. The only question is where?
Before the residents of Tent City are able to find new land for their community, a devastating flood destroys the camp and they strive to stick together while they are displaced. Local outreach workers are able to find them temporary land to inhabit in a small town outside of Nashville. However, town residents are not happy that a homeless encampment has moved in, so they try to force the homeless community out.
For the first time in Nashville history, the municipally run Homeless Commission has opened one seat on its Council to a resident of Tent City. Four people from Tent City have decided to run for the position and one elected resident will have the opportunity to spearhead the search for new land for a transitional camp for the homeless, a new Tent City.