Public housing properties in Nashville are dwindling

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 19:20:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As Nashville faces an affordable housing challenge and a deficit of low-cost rental options, many people feel they are left with nowhere to go.

Residents who face economic security risks will spend no more than 30% of their annual income on rent or a mortgage, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In Nashville, an estimated 65,000 households, just less than half of Davidson County’s renters exceeded that threshold, pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile, the options for affordable homeownership in Nashville are even fewer.

According to Mayor John Cooper's office, this leaves families of four that earn $0 to $67,450 struggling to find housing.

Tenants at the Village West Apartments in Nashville say those with affordable housing vouchers will soon need to move.

Thomas Sweet has called the apartments home for more than two and a half years. During this time, Sweet says the neighborhood has changed.

"All these houses over here and the new houses over here and what you're building over here it's like they're surrounding us," he said.

Sweet says it feels like he and his neighbors are being forced out.

The changes are happening right outside his doorstep.

"About six months ago, four to six months ago that's when Tina and Sam got a letter on her door," Sweet said.

Village West will no longer be an affordable housing -- tax credit community.

Which could ultimately impact 24 families.

"And then, Theresa got one on her door. And another lady down over here got one on her door. Next thing I know there's a bunch of moving trucks coming in and people moving out and I was like, 'wow,'" he said.

Like many other properties, Village West will become a conventional ---market rate property.

Tenants were giving plenty of notice and offered relocation assistance but some still worry about where they'll go next.

"They're just going to be getting rid of section 8 a little bit at a time, so I never know when my letters coming," Sweet said.

On a fixed income, Sweet is bringing in just $800 from disability and social security.

Living in public housing, Sweet pays $159 a month for rent.

"They do need more affordable housing because I'm telling you this pandemic probably made a lot more people homeless. A lot of people couldn't pay the rent, a lot of people lost their jobs, a lot of people lost their lives," Sweet said.

At least 7-thousand people in Nashville use section 8 vouchers to help with rent cost according to the city.

But only 700 landlords accept those vouchers.

The list of properties gets shorter every year.

A representative with Brookside Properties tells Newschannel 5, staff are assisting families find new homes.

The Tax Credit Program at Village West ended in December 2020, and it is no longer an Affordable Housing/Tax Credit community. The property fulfilled all of its obligations under the original LURA agreement and is transitioning to a conventional property.

When the decision was made to move Village West to a conventional/ market rate property, we contacted Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) to inform them of the move to conventional. We have been working in concert with THDA to ensure a smooth transition for our residents. Village West has a Relocation Specialist on staff to assist current residents in locating their new home if they do not choose to stay at Village West, and we have offered relocation funds to assist with moving costs. We are committed to a smooth transition for our residents.

Current residents are offered to renew their contract at below 2021 THDA appointed Maximum rents, and many have done so! Brookside Properties understands the importance of affordable housing, especially in Nashville, and we manage multiple properties that offer affordable Tax Credit and Section 8 housing in middle Tennessee.
Brookside Properties Representative