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Nashville mayor launches affordable housing task force

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Posted at 1:26 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 00:16:02-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the formation of a task force to “create better and more affordable housing for Nashville.”

Cooper’s office said Tuesday that 21 housing experts were selected for the group, which will meet on Thursday, Jan. 21. Their recommendations will impact the 2022 fiscal year budget plan that the mayor will make later this year to the Metro Council.

“Nashville’s housing needs are urgent,” Mayor Cooper said in a release Tuesday. “By working together and listening to one another, we can find solutions that work best for Nashville’s neighborhoods.”

Cooper said he’s asked the group to make recommendations on how to track the creation of affordable housing units while keeping with his commitment to transparency.

Task force member and At-Large Metro Council member Zulfat Suara said she was optimistic the task force could make a difference. She said the diverse group is made up of people from different agencies and departments that together can tackle the complex issue.

"We want to look at policy. We want to look at financing, and land use," said Suara. "These are areas we have to look at collectively to find a solution. We know we have a problem. I’m very excited and I think we will be able to do something for Nashvillians."

Task Force member Kay Bowers, who is also on the MDHA Board of Commissioners said the March tornado and COVID-19 pandemic have made an already difficult situation worse for a lot of people.

"We have people who have lost their jobs, or have had hours reduced," said Bowers. "Those people are on the edge trying to keep a roof over their heads."

The task force will focus on policy, access, financing and land use, including the following:

Policy:

  • "How can Nashville preserve and create affordable housing that benefits all residents at different income levels?"
  • "How can the city tie affordable housing to other community investments, such as transportation, libraries and schools?"
  • "How can nonprofit organizations better align their efforts and develop stronger relationships with for-profit builders?"

Access:

  • "How can Metro make it easier for Nashvillians who need affordable housing to get it?"

Financing:

  • "What tools are missing from Nashville’s affordable housing 'tool box?'"
  • "What requests should Nashville make to state and federal partners? What has worked in other cities?"

Land Use:

  • "What policies can help residents remain in their neighborhoods, even as those neighborhoods change?"

Click here for more information and to read more about each member of the task force.