NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — They’ve provided housing and job training for dozens of young people across Nashville, now Crossroads campus is breaking ground on a new campus and expanding on the city's plans for more affordable housing.
We rarely see projects addressing almost every major concern for the city all at one point and that’s part of what makes the new expansion a much-needed boost for North Nashville.
CEO Lisa Stetar said on Wednesday that the new campus location on Buchanan Street and 16th Avenue will now make room for at least 40 young people at a time.
“We know unemployment is very high among the young adults in this community. We know there are some issues with crime and violence in this community because of poverty. We’re just hoping to be another part of the solution that’s being worked on for this part of the community,” Stetar said.
Tristan Slough is one such alumnus of the program where teens gain job experience working to rehabilitate abandoned dogs. Tristan says before Crossroads, he was at a crossroads himself trying to navigate what his life would be. He never imagined enrolling in college, much less on a scholarship, but says that’s just what Crossroads is capable of.
“It’s really easy to be hostile. It’s really easy to be stuck in a certain mindset because that’s all we’ve been told. Then we come to Crossroads and we see something different within our community,” Slough said.
It’s a project made possible by private and public funds, but Stetar pointed out how the Barnes Fund made the difference in development. Since his State of Metro, Mayor John Cooper made it clear that affordable housing was one of the city’s top priorities in addressing what to do about the growing metro.
Mayor Cooper plans to triple Metro’s investment in affordable housing to $37.5 million. Council already agreed in May to allocate an additional $9.4 million for the Barnes Fund which would benefit similar affordable housing projects.
“We’re recognizing our past and making our future better,” Cooper said.
A recent affordable housing study by Metro found that the city created or preserved about 1,350 affordable housing units a year. The statistics show we should have to increase production to 5,250 units, to avoid a potential shortage by 2030.
The study also points out that multiple factors like wages and building costs will impact housing affordability in the future. Stetar noted that convincing others to build in a pandemic has been hard enough because of the cost of supplies.
It’s estimated that 65,000 households in Davidson County or roughly half of the county’s renters spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on rent or a mortgage, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mayor Cooper has proposed the following as solutions, which Metro Council is set to vote on in a meeting at the end of June:
-$22.5 million for the city’s Barnes Fund which includes both recurring city and one-time federal American Rescue Plan dollars.
-$3 million to encourage private-sector participation in affordable housing development with a payment instead of taxes program.
-$10 million (ARP dollars) to create a Catalyst Fund so Nashville can quickly preserve at-risk units and proactively create affordable housing near proposed public projects (bus stops, parks, community centers, and libraries.)
-A plan to partner with a private or nonprofit developer to build affordable housing on nearly three acres of Metro-owned property at 2119 24th Avenue N.
-$500,000 to create a long-term Metro Nashville housing plan.
-Resources to bring two full-time housing experts to Metro Planning.
The cost to build may be much higher during the pandemic and most projects take years to open their doors. Yet, Stetar says it’s a price worth paying for a future in the right direction.
“Our surroundings, our environment matter and we all deserve to have a roof over our head that’s safe and a place we can be proud to call home,” Stetar said.