Applications for latest round of Barnes Fund are open

Mayor David Briley

Applications for the Barnes Fund Fall 2019 Funding Round are now open. A total of $9.5 million is available for eligible projects.

New for this round, families enrolled in the city’s Strong Babies Project administered by the Metro Public Health Department will be included as a prioritized special population. This designation will provide nonprofit developers with additional points on their scoring matrix in their application for Barnes Fund housing if they commit to including these families in their affordable housing projects.

“The Strong Babies Project puts our youngest neighbors on the right path and, along with the Barnes Fund, is helping us build a truly equitable city for all of our residents,” said Mayor David Briley. “I am thankful to the Housing Trust Fund Commission for recognizing the value of providing our community’s infants and their caretakers a strong start toward building a vibrant future.”

Nashville Strong Babies is designed to provide access to medical care, case management, home-visitation services and education during pregnancy and through a child’s first 18 months of life. Strong Babies will serve up to 700 pregnant women and families every year for five years in seven neighborhoods throughout Davidson County. Families living in the following zip codes are eligible to receive services: 37115, 37207, 37208, 37210, 37216, 37218 and 37221.

Most infant deaths in Nashville are due to babies being born too soon, too small or being placed in unsafe sleeping conditions; most of these deaths are preventable. Providing pregnant women and families with infants with safe housing is a significant tool to improve those outcomes. While there have been modest improvements in Nashville’s infant mortality rate (7.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016 decreased to 7.0 infant deaths per live births in 2017), striking racial disparities still exist. Non-Hispanic Caucasian infants are nearly twice more likely to celebrate their first birthday than African American infants.

“The infant mortality rate is a crucial indicator of our community’s health. It reflects not just the medical care surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, but also the social and economic strengths and stressors of women and families,” continued Briley. “Our Strong Babies Project directly addresses the stark racial disparity we see in birth outcomes in our city, and I am pleased that housing is now part of that equation.”

The Barnes Fund is Metro Nashville’s first housing trust fund to leverage affordable housing developments countywide. The Barnes Fund makes competitive grants to nonprofit housing developers to increase affordable housing options for Nashvillians.

The Nashville Strong Babies Project is the result of the $5.47 million in federal Healthy Start funds awarded to the city by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in April.

For more information on the Nashville Strong Babies Project or to enroll, contact the Metro Public Health Department Central Referral System at 615-880-2187.