WKRN News Nashville

Nashville CEO, who once experienced intermittent homelessness, using own money to assist unhoused residents

“It’s not that we are sending people that are homeless here to be homeless elsewhere, we are getting them home.” Jack Byrd, III said.
Article Video, Photo Credits: WKRN News Nashville


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Source Article, Photo Credits: WKRN News Nashville | Aug 30, 2022 | by: Andy Cordan | Updated: Aug 30, 2022 / 05:26 PM CDT


Nashville CEO, who once experienced intermittent homelessness, using own money to assist unhoused residents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you have been downtown recently, you know that homelessness continues to be a major issue in Nashville.

Jack Byrd knows it too. The 33-year-old told News 2 that he grew up in Antioch, and around the age of four lived in intermittent homelessness. “I lived it. I was the kid that had the free and reduced lunches, and took showers at school.”

Byrd worked hard and lifted himself up. He now is the CEO of Solaren Risk Management, a firm that employs 500 people, many of whom are first responders.

Because he knows what it is like to be unhoused, Byrd is giving back. He has spent the last six weeks working the downtown corridor assisting unhoused people.

Last week, News 2 tagged along with Byrd and his crew as they engaged unhoused people around Lower Broadway.

The crews handed out bottled water and gave out free sandwiches. If people needed medical attention, his staff, driving side-by-sides, took them to the hospital. If they needed to be transported to other areas of the city, his people did that too.

In some cases, Byrd bought bus passes for unhoused people who said they had sustainable housing in other cities.

“I’ve experienced homelessness intermittently, I’ve been there, done it. It’s terrible,” said Byrd. “It’s hard because you lose hope. There’s no end in sight sometimes.”

Because he knows what it is like to be displaced, Byrd offers some unhoused people a free bus ticket out of Nashville. Byrd says some people are only unhoused because they are stranded in Music City with nowhere to stay. He has purchased a bus ticket for 65 people to go home so far.

“It’s not that we are sending people that are homeless here to be homeless elsewhere, we are getting them home.” – Jack Byrd, III

He says he only buys people a ticket if they have a sustainable home where they are going. “A lot of times that is the case, they have housing somewhere else, but they are experiencing homelessness because they are stranded here.”

News 2 asked Byrd about the misconception that he is simply shipping Nashville’s unhoused to another city.

“No. No. That is demonstratively untrue. Absolutely not,” Byrd said. “What we are doing, as part of this assessment whenever we encounter them, we make sure, if they have sustainable housing, if they have friends, family, their own home, some other means there, we will allow transportation to that. we are not going to send someone to be homeless somewhere else, that is inhumane.”

According to Byrd, during the final weekend of August, he spent around $15,000 out of his own pocket on food, water, resources, personnel, and bus tickets, to help people experiencing homelessness.

Byrd said his group has provided over 300 donated meals, given over 500 in city transports, rendered EMS assistance 40+ times, and provided safe transportation to at least 65 people who were stranded and had access to sustainable housing in other areas.

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