Nashville’s Public Housing Authority Is Recruiting A New Kind Of Tenant | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville’s Public Housing Authority Is Recruiting A New Kind Of Tenant

Apr 3, 2019

For the first time, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency is running local radio and TV ads, hoping to attract a different kind of tenant than it typically serves.

The campaign comes as dozens of new apartments are about to open in East Nashville, part of a grand new vision aimed at breaking up concentrated poverty: a neighborhood where all income levels will live together.

The ads, featuring fast-paced high energy narration put to thumping techno music, call Nashville “the new it city. Everyone is looking to live in Nashville. … East Nashville is the place.”

Advertising one- and two-bedroom apartments, the housing authority is targeting younger people, single or without a family. They don't mention the James Cayce Homes, the East Nashville subsidized housing complex that’s linked to the new development.

“Introducing Kirkpatrick Park, located on South Ninth Street near Shelby Avenue. Live within walking distance of downtown rent,” one ad boasts.

Jamie Berry, spokeswoman for MDHA, said the ads were a new, evolving idea for the agency. “It started out with potentially doing some kind of advertisement. Then it kind of led into radio and TV,” she said.

The apartments start at $1,050 for a one-bedroom and go as high as $1,574 for a two-bedroom, she said. The apartments are townhome-style condos.

"When you hear the $1,050 number,” Berry said of the ads, "then you see the product you say, 'Wow, that is an awesome deal for the location and where it is.' " 

While the advertised prices may be a good deal for the neighborhood, the housing agency is depending on bringing in enough higher-income renters to generate revenue and help pay for the development.

Rents at Kirkpatrick Park depend on the applicant's income. Some people may qualify for lower rents, because their income puts them into the “workforce housing” category — above low-income but below market-rate price. For the low-income residents already living in Cayce and will move to the new complex, their rent will not exceed 30 percent of their income, according to the agency.