Affordable Housing Hot Topic During Annual NOAH Meeting

Posted at 9:58 PM, Oct 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-29 23:14:24-04

The future of affordable housing in Nashville took center stage at an annual community meeting. 

Mayor Megan Barry joined several local and state leaders at the event at The Temple Church in Nashville on Sunday. The meeting was hosted by Nashville Organized for Action and Hope, also known as NOAH.

The purpose was to recap what has been done to bring more affordable housing to the community and to look ahead at future plans.

Some advocates praised Mayor Barry for committing $25 million to the issue, but said more units have been needed and there should be less of a focus on another hot topic -- transportation. 

"If they can get from point A to point B but don't have a place to live, it's still dysfunctional, and it still doesn't make this a vibrant inclusive and dynamic city for all of its citizens," said Paulette Coleman.

Coleman heads the Affordable Housing Task Force and said she hoped for city officials and investors to provide new visions and work together to make Nashville more inclusive and a livable situation. 

During a Q & A, Coleman proposed a question of whether Mayor Barry will mobilize the community around affordable housing as she has around transit.

Part of the mayor's response said transit and housing policies should be linked.

"Without a comprehensive transportation infrastructure, not only are we going to lag way behind, we’re also going to be worse or we're actually going to see more inequality. And I can tell you right now we don’t have that mobility. Those other factors are just going to get worse because transportation is the great equalizer when we talk about income disparity," Barry said.

A report on affordable housing from the mayor's office stated Nashville's shortage of affordable housing units has been estimated to reach 31,000 by 2025. 

Housing advocates estimated it will take $775 million of leveraged funding to build 31,000 units -- 15 percent of what the city has been asking for the $5.2 billion transit project.

The annual event also addressed the issues of economic equality, criminal justice, and mass incarceration.