Employee Made Homeless By Affordable Housing

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 22:09:11-05

The price of "affordable" housing has become unaffordable for many people living in Nashville, including a worker at Tennessee State University, who was recently left homeless.

For more than a decade Edna McDonald has walked into her office at TSU with pride. It started as temporary position, but soon she was the full time second administrative assistant, it's a job she loves.

"I'm going to retire here," McDonald laughed. 

However, when she leaves the office at 4:30 she goes to the Nashville Rescue Mission. 

McDonald is homeless and has been for the last three weeks. "I've been from place to place to place and its like everybody is out for money," she said. 

Her former apartment community continued to up the rent price for several years. "They said they had to get it to market value," McDonald explained. 

McDonald had no choice but to leave, but she was immediately faced with a new challenge - where could she go? Her income left her with little to no options so she began to put her name on several lists including MDHA and Section 8 housing. Still, no luck. 

"It's like a lottery, your name is pulled randomly. I was like, ok, but I'm homeless," said McDonald. 

Sadly, McDonald's story represents a growing number of Nashvillians who can't afford to keep up with the high end growth.

 "There's got to be a moratorium to this growth, mad market driven city otherwise we're going to lose our city, lose the character and lose this thing called 'it'," former councilman Kwame Lillard said. 

Councilman DeCosta Hastings said the city has been working towards inclusionary housing since affordable housing will cater to families making more than $200,000. Those making less than $50,000 are considered part of the workforce housing development. 

"That is the sector that we are losing within our city," said Hastings. 

McDonald knows all to well what that feels like and hopes to one day have her own place again. "I want it so bad. Its really difficult not being in your own place," said McDonald. 

Former councilman Kwame Lillard suggestd a quota developers would be asked to honor for every few new homes and condo properties built. He also said there should be an inclusionary housing option as well.