Looking to curb Nashville’s affordable housing shortage, the city has awarded five non-profit developers a total of $10 million dollars in grants. The funding comes through the Barnes Housing Trust, and it’s the most ever awarded.
In total, 381 units are now slated for development as part of this latest phase. And this time, the list of projects has a lot more variety. Nashville’s housing program manager, Morgan Mansa, says using local money gives the Barnes Fund the ultimate flexibility.
“Unlike federal or state dollars, we can craft the applications to meet the demand and needs of residents in Nashville,” Mansa says.
The agencies given money under the program include Dismas House, which is building rental housing for ex-offenders, and Rebuilding Together, which aims to preserve affordable housing and home ownership by helping with home rehab. That means giving existing homeowners help — through their network of volunteers, builders, craftsmen and company partners — with things like a new roof or other critical home repairs.
Woodbine Community Development Organization has plans to build nearly 300 new units that include rentals and homes for sale. It’s the most of any grantee by far.
While this is only a fraction of the affordable housing the city needs, Mansa says the fund is about trying new approaches and seeing what works — that might include multi-family housing, dorm style living, single room occupancy (or SRO) housing and land trusts. “They run the gamut,” she says of the ideas circulating among the staff.
Mansa’s office is already looking to the next year of funding. They’re calling it an innovation round, encouraging agencies to propose their most creative ideas for solving the city’s housing needs.