The Williamson County Homeless Alliance comes out of a ministry of Franklin Community Church and Franklin Community Development.
Several years ago, Pastor Kevin Riggs (Franklin Community Church) let his church to develop a community center on Natchez Street near downtown Franklin. On one of his first days at the community center, Pastor Kevin noticed a car parked in an empty lot across the street. He noticed there were always two people in the car and the car was always there, from early morning to late night. Finally, Pastor Kevin walked to the car and introduced himself to the couple inside. Quickly, he realized the couple lived in the car! Up until that time, Pastor Kevin did not know there were people experiencing homelessness in his beautiful town. The following winter (2013 or 2014), the church opened up the community center for people experiencing homelessness to sleep on warm nights. Over the following years, the church operated an emergency shelter at the community center, a warehouse, and at a “social club” in the area. In the fall of 2017, the church opened a group home for men who had experienced homelessness. That group home, Franklin Community House, is still in operation.
Since the early days, at least once a year, a newspaper or network news, would do a story about Pastor Kevin and the homeless situation in Franklin, TN. In January of 2019, The Tennessean did a story that finally caught people’s attention. Here is a link to that story, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/williamson/2019/01/29/homeless-shelters-franklin-tn-williamson-county/2481880002/. This article led to several phone calls and meetings of various city leader. By the end of February 2019, an initial board was formed, a community meeting was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the Williamson County Homeless Alliance (WCHA)was formed.
Since 2019, WCHA has partnered with her parent organization, Franklin Community Development (FCD), to provide emergency housing in churches and hotels. During the six-weeks of “shelter-in-place” orders, WCHA and FCD provided dozens of people with shelter at a local hotel. By the end of 2020, WCHA and FCD provided over 1,500 nights of emergency shelter.