Dean announces affordable housing initiative with $3M to start, future funding unclear

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 11:54am

During a State of Metro address at the $585 million Music City Center in which he expressed a desire to see Nashville’s “rising tide” raise all ships, Mayor Karl Dean did acknowledge that some ships in the city have been taking on water.

As Nashville has grown, he noted, rental vacancy rates have gone down and rent prices have soared. Household incomes have lagged behind the cost of housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers a family who pays more than 30 percent of their income for housing to be “cost burdened,” and in recent years more and more Nashvillians have fallen under that label.

In other words, the “It City” has been leaving some of its citizens behind. Particularly when it comes to affordable housing.

“Nashville has options for those who can’t afford a home on their own, but the options are limited,” Dean said in last week’s speech. “Waiting lists are long. And for the most part, we have always relied on the nonprofit community and the federal government to address this need in our city. It’s time to do more.”

Toward that end, Dean announced his administration’s intention to establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that “will allow Metro government to take a more active role in creating affordable housing, encouraging rehabilitation of existing homes, maintaining affordability and building mixed-use, mixed-income developments.”

The trust fund will be named the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, in honor of the Rev. Bill Barnes, a founding pastor of Edgehill Methodist Church and one of the city’s most prominent voices for affordable housing for years.

The mayor’s office expects to file a bill with the Metro Council soon that will establish the fund as well as a Metro Housing Fund Commission. However, as of this writing, three days after the announcement, key details about the program — such as how many members would sit on the new mayor-appointed commission — were still being finalized, the mayor’s office said. 

The commission will award grants to nonprofit housing developers, to fund “renovation or construction of affordable homeownership and rental opportunities, project-based rental assistance, and other supportive efforts to encourage affordability” according to the Dean administration.

Officials expect the fund to add some 300 affordable housing units each year. The program will be aimed at households earning less than 60 percent of the Housing and Urban Development area median income, which is currently $26,800 for a single person household, according to information about the program provided by the mayor’s office.  

Existing grants will be used to establish the fund with an initial $3 million, and the mayor’s office said “the fund is expected to be ongoing.” However, the administration was not yet prepared to provide information on how the program would be supported after the initial funds run out.

 

6 Comments on this post:

By: Loner on 5/28/13 at 8:04

From the article: In other words, the “It City” has been leaving some of its citizens behind.

Did you say, "It City"? Am I not up to speed? Is that the new name for Music City? The MCC should be called the ICC?

This is not a good time to switch monikers, IMO...you got the MCC to pay off first.

"It City" rhymes with "Shit City"....just sayin'.

By: bfra on 5/28/13 at 8:09

Long time ago, Dean wanted to get away from the name Music City & got so much flack, he dropped that idea. Maybe he is trying it again, as he has proved, he thinks what ever he wants, he should have.

By: budlight on 5/28/13 at 9:29

Toward that end, Dean announced his administration’s intention to establish an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that “will allow Metro government to take a more active role in creating affordable housing, encouraging rehabilitation of existing homes, maintaining affordability and building mixed-use, mixed-income developments.”

Sounds like Karl McSpendy wants to funnel some moola to his friends who are in the building and rental industry.

Let it go Karl. The market will level itself out sooner or later.

By: yucchhii on 5/28/13 at 10:22

They said that people who paid more than 30% of their pay is cost burdened. How about those who have NO income and can't pay any %? Many have mental illnesses that can't get into housing, Thanks to REAGAN for that. How about those who have disabilities and have NO income, some have OBVIOUS disabilities and still get turned down...like double amputees. People who are in REAL NEED for the MOST part get NOTHING. Of course these things are being spoken about in the $585 MILLION dollar convention center and of course building yet ANOTHER hotel right across the street. I still see the DISHONERABLE MAYOR KARL "DINK" AS A CRIMINAL as well as the city council...they practice politics too don't they?

By: FLeFew on 5/28/13 at 3:14

Karl is going to be remembered as a "far sighted" mayor. The only problem is that he will start programs that we cannot afford and leave us with so much debt that the next mayor will not be able to plan programs of his own. Can we say Convention Center?

His transportation program is great for my grand kids, but now I will just slog along befind the cycleists who have no plan to follow traffic laws. Two more ran a red light and cut in front of me this morning,. If I had hit one, it wold have been my fault since I didn't "share the road."

By: sixbear on 5/30/13 at 12:07

if the mayor would stop encouraging developers to tear down housing that people are comfortable living in that would be the best step in the right direction. most likely then this money will actually be given to developers who are tearing down other dwellings and then getting this money that they will then leverage to a much bigger loan for promising to make some of the units in high rise meet the boarderline of being affordable. The affordable units will probably end up being smaller and more expensive than the rest of the complex. the house and development wing of metro is not supposed to just be there to make developers happy.