Nashville Pledges $500 Million To Build Mixed-Income Housing | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Pledges $500 Million To Build Mixed-Income Housing

Mar 26, 2019

The Mayor’s Office is dedicating $500 million toward boosting affordable housing in Nashville, much of which will go toward converting low-income housing into mixed income.

Over the next decade Nashville promises to put $350 million toward the housing authority’s plan to rebuild the city’s aging public housing as a mixture of low, moderate and higher income apartments.

Nashville Mayor David Briley said Tuesday breaking up concentrated poverty and replacing it with mixed-income living creates opportunities for everyone.  

“If you live here in Nashville, you ought to have a pathway to prosperity,” Briley said. “Living in a mixed-income neighborhood is a big part of that. So that’s why it’s important for this city that believes in everybody succeeding to invest that kind of money.”

The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, or MDHA, has spent years working on transforming Nashville’s public housing. Past attempts at mixed-income living have been only moderately successful: They've led to safer neighborhoods but at the expense of displacing hundreds of low-income residents.

This time around, the housing authority has promised to build back exactly the same number of low-income units that it tears down. The strategy means increasing the density of some complexes by threefold. With the additional money from the Mayor's office the push to redevelop thousands of low-income units accross the city, known as "Envision" projects, will be accelerated officials said.  

The new housing iniative, known as "Under One Roof 2029," is the most expansive in the city's history.  It promises to create 10,000 new units of affordable housing. Half of those are being built by the housing authority through its Envision projects — all of which are mixed-income. 

Briley said the funding is coming from general obligation bonds spread over the next decade. 

Across the country, mixed-income housing is seen as a key method to combating poverty. However, skeptics of the policy say it’s not enough to just mix people up and build new apartments. There must also be tangible resources to foster community and lift up those who have less.

Briley says the funds will be watched closely with an eye toward applying them holistically.

“There will be oversight from the council and from the mayor in terms of the money that leaves the general government and goes to MDHA,” he said.

In addition to the money for public housing, another $150 million will go toward boosting the Barnes Housing Trust Fund, which is dedicated to building affordable housing. Briley is also calling on the private sector to come forward with $250 million in matching money.