Barry releases plan increasing housing options

Mayor’s Barry made an announcement on affordable housing on April 11th, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee

Mayor’s Barry made an announcement on affordable housing on April 11th, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee

Mayor Megan Barry has released her housing priorities and action plan for 2016-2017 that focuses city resources and attention on the need to fund, build, preserve and maintain affordable and workforce housing in Davidson County. Highlights of the plan include a $10 million investment in the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing (Barnes Fund) and a private-public partnership to develop workforce housing on Metro-owned land.

“My priority is to increase housing options for existing and future residents of Davidson County as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Barry. “As we continue to grow, we have to ensure that all of our residents can benefit from our city’s prosperity, and ensuring that working families have access to housing they can afford is a critical to that effort.”

The $10 million proposed investment in the Barnes Fund, the largest since the Fund was created in 2013, will be in addition to the $5 million that will result from the sale of the Nashville Convention Center, and the $1 million allocated in the previous budget cycle, bringing the fund to $16 million in FY16-17.

Named after Rev. Bill Barnes, a long time community advocate for affordable housing, the Barnes Fund makes competitive grants to nonprofit housing developers to increase affordable housing options for Nashvillians. Grants can include funding for renovation or construction of affordable homeownership and rental opportunities and other supportive efforts to encourage affordability. Funds can be leveraged by nonprofit developers with other existing tax credit and funding programs.

In addition to the financial commitment for the Barnes Fund, Mayor Barry announced plans by the Elmington Capital Group to develop a parcel of Metro-owned property at the corner of 12th and Wedgewood that will create 110 units or more of workforce housing targeting incomes ranging from 80% to 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

“Government can’t solve this problem alone. We’ll need buy-in from the private and non-profit sectors if we are going to seriously address our housing needs throughout the city,” said Barry.

“Which is why I’m grateful for the commitment by Elmington Capitol Group to work with Metro Nashville to create housing that teachers, nurses, firefighters, and construction workers can afford to rent.”

The proposed project with Elmington Capital Group represents a private-public model, which Barry seeks to replicate in other parts of Nashville to create mixed-income housing developments utilizing Metro property.

Additionally, the Mayor’s Office has identified 60 infill lots throughout Davidson County, with more than half of the lots located in the urban core with access to transportation and employment centers, which can be developed by non-profits for largely single family housing through the Barnes Fund.

“We are hard at work in the Council and in the community to achieve these two goals: that if you want to come to Nashville, you can afford to live here; and if you’re already in Nashville, you can afford to stay here,” said Council Member Colby Sledge, who represents the 17th district where this development will be located. “Today’s announcement will make those goals a reality for hundreds if not thousands of Nashvillians and I applaud Mayor Barry for her unceasing focus on this effort.”

Barry’s $10 million commitment for the Barnes Fund will be reflected in her proposed budget, which will be released to the public following her State of Metro Address on Friday, April 29 at 11:30 am at Ascend Amphitheater.

The proposed 12th and Wedgewood project, once finalized, will be discussed with the Edgehill community and presented to the Metro Council for approval, with an anticipated completion in late 2017 or early 2018.