I guess that depends on what you consider to be “a lot.” According to most estimates Nashville’s homeless population size is average for the country.
I determined this on very circumstantial information considering that it is very difficult to count the homeless population, and all counting of homeless people has been inaccurate to a degree.
There are many homeless people who do not want to be counted as homeless. Many homeless people hide, others are constantly on the move, the population changes constantly for many factors, including seaonally. And the methods used to count the homeless are not very accurate or scientific.
Then there are the people with a political agenda who want the population of homeless to appear smaller than it really is, and there are others with a political agenda who want it to appear larger than it really is.
Because of this, estimates of the homeless population can be off by as much as 50%, that is, in my estimation. Some surveys will include or exclude people who are in housing but by circumstances may be considered homeless, such as people temporarily staying with friends or relatives, or living in camp grounds, or in cheap motels.
According to numbers collected by different organizations, including the National Coalition for the Homeless, the homeless population ran approximately 1 homeless person for every 400 people. That would mean that in Nashville, with a population of about 600,000 people, there are 1500 homeless. Of course, I came up with this information about 5 years ago, before the big economic collapse. And in the past 5 years there has been a noticable and steady increase in the homeless population in Nashville. And I base that mostly on the fact that it has been increasingly more difficult to get a bed at homeless shelters. There are more homeless people attempting to get into shelters – the lines are longer than ever. And about 5 years ago the Downtown Presbyterian Church began serving breakfast to the homeless on Sunday mornings. At first only 50 to 80 people showed up for this breakfast. Now, that number has tripled. I think it is possible that Nashville’s homeless population could be as many as 3000.