Last week, we had four people in the same hospital: a hit and run, a baby born early, and two broken bodies driven to madness by broken minds. I cannot fathom what it would be like to feel my flesh and bones give way to a rush of metal, to give birth to a child without a home, to be haunted by voices no one else hears. I walked the sterile, weaving, windowless hallways feeling heavy, reminding myself I cannot fix people.
Want to do something NOW about homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Nashville?
Please write or call metro council TODAY and let them know it is time to get serious about Nashville’s housing crisis. We support the Mayor’s proposed $25 million bond to preserve affordable housing, and $10 million for the Barnes Fund authorized in the Capital Spending Plan. These small amounts are in doubt and at risk of being cut this coming Tuesday, June 13 at Metro Council.
- Some members might want to cut or reduce the $25 million amount
- Some want to defer this whole approval until much later in the year
As you know, we need every available tool in our toolbox to address housing needs (particularly for our most vulnerable friends). These funds are specifically slated to address rental housing UNDER 60% of AMI and to step in where subsidies are needed. The Mayor strongly believes we need to make the funding available so we can move swiftly.
Some say there is not enough money to house Nashvillians while at the same time believe there is enough for the proposed $150 million professional soccer stadium that is in the budget. Let council know it is time to stop playing games with the lives of our friends and neighbors.
We are in an EMERGENCY SITUATION. PLEASE RESPOND NOW.
Until June 13 at 6pm & then, show up to the Council Meeting that night at the Council Chamber in the Historic Metro Courthouse, One Public Square in downtown Nashville to show your support.
Action 1: You can write the entire council by going to the following link, typing in your info and response, and choose email “Entire Metro Council” in Step 2: https://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Council/Contact-Council-Members.aspx
In the subject line, add “Support the Affordable Housing Bond issue and More”.
Action 2: Email the Mayor by going to this link and ask her to do more: https://www.nashville.gov/Mayors-Office/Contact-Us.aspx
Individual responses are best, but here’s one example of a letter—feel free to use it as is, or modify.
Dear Councilmember(s) __________,
I write to ask you to support the Mayor’s plans for a $25 million bond issue to preserve affordable housing in the capital expenditure budget, the $10 million allocation for the Barnes Fund NOW without delay or at the risk of being cut. It is urgent that Nashville do more. Our neighbor families are being pushed into poverty and homelessness by the lack of affordable housing.
1) The need: Nashville has 23,000 people experiencing homelessness, including 8,000 schoolchildren (the some 2,300 count you hear in the news is a 6 hour, one night count that doesn’t include most of the children). But this is not just about those experiencing homelessness. HALF of Nashville’s WORKERS make less than $31,000 per year. It takes 3 full time minimum wage jobs to afford a $750 one bedroom apartment—and there are few of those. Every council district but one had over 40% of cost burdened renters. As of 2015, there is a need for 18,000 units of affordable according to the Mayor’s recent report. According to the GNAA, last year Nashville had some 16,000 rental units under construction, but fewer than 600 were affordable, and we lost more than 2000 affordable units for the second year in a row. People are being driven from the city they have lived in for generations, into deep poverty, or onto the streets because they cannot afford housing.
2) I support the Mayor’s planned $25 million bond issue to preserve affordable housing, the $10 million for the Barnes Fund, and the proposed Land Trust. Council should pass these, but they do not go far enough.
3) Housing should be a priority: affordable housing will allow children to do better in school, and reduce pressures that produce hunger, medical crises, homelessness, and crime, all costly to the city. Studies have shown over and over that housing the chronic homeless saves at least $21,000 per year, and with 23,000 people unhoused, this is a savings of $483 million per year. It would nearly pay for the housing needs in one year. Even at half the savings, it would pay for itself in two years.
Nashville has spent more than enough in tax increment financing and bond issues on luxury hotels for tourists, luxury condos for the wealthy, and sports stadiums—it must be a city for ALL of its people. It is time to stop playing games with the lives of our friends and neighbors.