Mayor John Cooper today released a key report detailing steps Nashville can take over the next three years to meet its urgent affordable housing needs.
In the report, the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force, made up of 22 experts, provides nine priority recommendations for making meaningful progress by 2024.
“Nashville needs to 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. This includes our teachers, our first responders and our food service workers – the essential workers who have gotten us through the past year.
Mayor Cooper acted early on five of the group’s ideas, offering immediate action during his April 29 State of the Metro Address – including a plan to triple the amount of dollars allocated to affordable housing in Nashville for the coming year.
“The scale and urgency of the housing crisis in Nashville is significant, and I am grateful and impressed by the speed with which Mayor Cooper acted,” said Edward Henley, co-chair of the task force.
What is affordable housing?
An economically secure resident will spend no more than 30% of their annual income on rent or a mortgage, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In Nashville, it is estimated 65,000 households — just under half of Davidson County renters — exceeded that threshold, before the pandemic. Meanwhile, while inventory is harder to track, affordable homeownership options are even fewer.
That leaves families of four earning $0 to $67,450 — including Nashville teachers and first responders — struggling to find affordable housing in the city they serve.
And the problem has only gotten worse over the past 18 months, with pandemic-related relocations bringing more people to Nashville and supply chain bottlenecks choking off the supply of building materials and driving up construction costs.
Forecasts for 2030
Nashville’s public and private housing providers are creating and maintaining access to an estimated number 1,350 affordable housing per year. To avoid a potential shortage of 50,000 units by 2030, annual production would need to increase fourfold to 5,250 units.
Multiple factors – like wages and construction costs – will affect housing affordability at any given time, but there is one constant: building a city’s affordable housing ecosystem requires funding and action. politics at the municipal, state and federal levels.
Already on the move
In his State of the Metro address, Mayor Cooper included the following proposed actions:
- $22.5 million for the city’s Barnes Fund, which includes both city recurring dollars and U.S. Federal Bailout (ARP) dollars
- $3 million encourage private sector participation in the development of affordable housing with a payments in lieu of taxes program
- $10 million (ARP dollars) to create a Catalyst fund so that 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 non-profit developer to build affordable housing on nearly three acres of property owned by Metro at 2119 24th Ave. NOT.
- $500,000 to create a Nashville Metro Long Term Housing Plan
- Resources for Bringing Two Full-Time Housing Experts to Metro Planning
Additionally, Mayor Cooper included $2 million in its February 2021 capital spending plan to leverage participation agreements with developers to preserve and create more affordable housing.
The metro board approved the mayor’s capital spending plan in March and is expected to vote on its proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2022 by the end of June.