December 6, 2023

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The Journey Home works to get working families stable housing

The Journey Home clothes closet that is located at the building on West Castle Street in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Lunchtime at The Journey Home outreach center on West Castle Street in Murfreesboro is jam-packed with dozens of diners bustling in and out of the community café.

A diverse crowd fills the small dining room. There’s a middle-aged grandmother, a mother with a young child, two men carrying all their belongings in a backpack, among others teetering on the edge of homelessness.

Geneva Poss, director of housing at The Journey Home, stops to check on one of the tables.

“You doing OK today?” 

Through the café doors, clients watch the clock for their time slots to shower. Others wait for meetings to discuss support services. In the basement, a family rummages through the clothes closet for their children.

Scott Foster with the Journey Home stands on the site of the new building location off Old Salem Road in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

“We take care of basic needs and help people stabilize their situation,” explained Scott Foster, executive director of the nonprofit he founded in 2006. “We then build relationships with them to move forward and back into community life.”

Every nook and cranny of the aging facility is filled with purpose, whether it’s storage, services or programming.

And there’s still not enough room.

“We just need the space to be able to impact the people who need our services,” said Lis Couser, the facility’s development director. “Right now we operating in such small space, we can do one thing or other thing but can’t have all services going on at same time.”

Plans are well underway for the construction of a two-story, 23,400-square-foot outreach center and family housing facility that will be located on Old Salem Road near the intersection of Middle Tennessee Boulevard. 

The Journey Home location on West Castle Street in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Journey Home’s new center will place programs and services under one roof, operating without juggling time and space. The new facility will also see the addition of a mental and medical health center, as well as a chapel.

Land for the $5 million project has been purchased, and nearly $1.5 million has been raised. The nonprofit will need $2 million more before reaching out to a charitable foundation to supplement the final funding.

“We already have permits and plans all ready to go as soon as the community steeps up,” Foster said.

Stable housing central to mission

While food, clothing and support services are important offerings at The Journey Home, providing stable housing is at the heart of the Christian nonprofit’s mission.

“A lot of folks don’t realize that probably a quarter or more of the homeless population is made up of families with minor children,” Foster said. “That’s where cycles of homelessness begin, when children are not provided opportunities to live in stability, that tends to perpetuate itself.”