Metro report addresses city's affordable housing needs; task force gives 9 recommendations

Posted at 9:46 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 10:46:47-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper has released a report explaining the necessary steps to tackle the city’s affordable housing needs.

The report focuses on making some big changes from now until 2024. In the report, the mayor’s 22-expert Affordable Housing Task Force provided nine priority recommendations for making progress.

Mayor Cooper wrote a letter in the report talking about needing solutions to start work on immediately, and he said the report delivers that.

“Nashville must be a city that works for everyone,” Mayor Cooper said. “And – in a city that works for everyone – everyone who works here should be able to live here. That includes our teachers, first responders, and food service workers – the essential workers who got us through this past year.”

The report said rent has jumped up 50% in the last decade. The co-chairs of this task force said those on the lower end of the income spectrum may not be able to find housing at all.

They specifically mentioned this creating a strain on Black and brown families. Their nine recommendations include things like building revenue sources to create and preserve affordable housing and build up the Barnes housing trust fund to produce at least 1,500 units a year.

For some background on what affordable housing really is, let’s start with a look at someone who is economically secure. They will not spend more than 30% of their yearly income on their rent or mortgage according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Here in Nashville, around 65,000 households – half of the county's renters – met that pre-pandemic. The mayor's office said families of four making less than $67,450 a year struggle to find housing.

Mayor Cooper proposed some actions in his State Of Metro address, including $10 million for a catalyst fund and $22.5 million for the city's Barnes fund.