NeedLink Nashville
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3900 West End Avenue visit us at the N. Wilson Blvd. entry of Westminster Presbyterian Church
Nashville, TN 37205
Organization Details


Affordable housing stock in Nashville has decreased by 20% since 2000. Many families in rental homes have been displaced by development, and it is nearly impossible for seniors living on a fixed income, families working low-wage jobs, and people with disabilities to get by without a little bit of help. In Nashville today, 46% of renters are considered over-burdened by rental costs according to HUD guidelines. NeedLink's rental assistance program primarily helps people living in income-based housing, who are most at risk of becoming homeless if evicted. We also assist people with deposits to help them obtain income-based housing when they have previously been homeless, doubled up, living in motel rooms or in their cars. Each year NeedLink provides rental assistance to nearly 400 households, and typically over 90% of these families remain housed 90 days later.
Housing, Shelter  - Housing Expense Assistance 
Program Areas Served
NeedLink's utility assistance program has helped Nashvillians since 1912. We began as 'Big Brothers' and provided firewood, loads of coal, and tins of heating oil to keep our neighbors warm. Food baskets were delivered to those in need. Over time NeedLink's programs have evolved to assist with past due utility bills and disconnections. Increasing utility costs, plumbing leaks, and severe weather are creating increasing stress on household budgets for many families with low or fixed income. Unpaid utility bills result in disconnections which in turn can lead to eviction and homelessness.

Each year NeedLink typically receives nearly 4000 requests for utility assistance, providing over $250,000 in direct financial assistance through payments made directly to landlords and utility companies.

NeedLink Program Directors also consult with families seeking assistance to identify other needs and guide them to additional resources available through more than 60 NeedLink partners.
Program Areas Served

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Housing and related assistance is perpetually the greatest need cited by respondents to Metro Social Services' Community Needs Evaluation Update. One-third of callers to United Way's 2-1-1 assistance line also requested assistance with housing and utilities. Because the need is so great, it is no surprise that NeedLink receives more referrals from the helpline than any other non-profit agency. We are generally the first place families come for help and financial assistance. This was especially true during 2020's tornados, the onset of COVID-19, and our Christmas Day downtown bombing. During the first quarter of 2021, we continue to assist those in need with each of these disasters while also helping Nashvillians with everyday emergencies that bring about financial hardships.

Our greatest challenge is trying to help as many people as possible in a meaningful way with our limited resources. Currently, we are able to help about 50% of those who apply for assistance each week. NeedLink prioritizes assistance to low-income families with young children, seniors, community members with disabilities and victims of crime. Generally, we limit assistance to one time per year and consider bills that include an eviction or disconnection notice. Our priority is to ensure that our payment will keep a client in their home and connected to service. If service is disconnected, we may make above-average payments to restore service, particularly when there are children and seniors in the home.

Our Program Directors focus their energy on client consultations, confirmations of client-provided utility and rent information, our NeedLink pledge commitments made directly to landlords and utility companies and the tracking of all data for communications with our partner agencies.

In certain conditions, such as those which COVID-19 has brought about, which prohibit our one-to-one meetings with clients, we utilize an online application to gather information before assisting. Otherwise, our doors are open for client consultations each Monday and Tuesday. We assist as we are able and also refer clients to additional Nashville resources that specialize in other needs. Our revenue is limited and we work diligently to increase funding to enable us to meet more of the crisis housing and utility needs in our community.