History of Brooks House

The History of Brooks House


Before his untimely death, Brooks Franklin, humanitarian and 30-year veteran writer for The Lebanon Democrat, researched the homeless population in Wilson County and wrote several award winning articles on the subject. These feature stories made the community aware of the size and plight of the homeless population and especially the need for temporary shelter for women and children in our local area. It became the mission of a diverse group to create a shelter in Wilson County to help this segment of our population.


February 2005: A steering committee is formed under the direction of Teresa Taylor, owner of Along the Way Café. This group is tasked with honoring the legacy of Brooks Franklin, whom the house is named for, by dreaming and planning for the first homeless shelter for women and children in Wilson County

June 2006: Steering committee visits shelters in various counties and cities, similar in size to Wilson County and Lebanon, gaining insight and ideas to assist in the planning, design, and mission of Brooks House

October 2006: Community Homeless Outreach and Support, Inc., was established, operating under the name Brooks House, as a 501 (c) (3) organization. A former church, located at 111 West Lester Avenue, is rented as office and planning space

March 2007: Liz Reese is named Executive Director of Brooks House

July 2007: The home and property at 219 Virginia Avenue is purchased to serve as the new residential home of Brooks House and renovation begins

April 2008: Renovation is complete and Brooks House opens its doors with 2,700 square feet as the first shelter for women and children in Wilson County

May 2011: House and property on Virginia Avenue are paid-in-full and a note burning ceremony is held

November 2013: Melanie Johnson is hired as the Assistant Director of Brooks House

May 2014: Brooks House breaks ground on facility expansion

March 2015: Brooks House opens its doors post-expansion with 4,200 square feet and ribbon cutting ceremony is held. Expansion is paid-in-full

November 2016: Brooks House celebrates 10 years of changing the lives of…

  • 365 women and children as house residents and…
  • 179 women and children who have received outside services through Brooks House

And the story continues…….