For the past two years, Nashville has been working on permanent downtown housing with comprehensive health services for people experiencing homelessness.
The subsidized housing will be behind the Justice A.A. Birch Building at 505 Second Ave. N., which is a change from its original location.
The plan was originally introduced during Mayor David Briley’s administration but faced controversy because of its ties to a land swap with a wealthy developer. Metro has changed course and is putting up $25 million of its own money.
“Far too often affordable housing is not affordable for people experiencing homelessness,” says Councilmember Freddie O’Connell. “So, this is, in my opinion, (is) a huge step for the city of Nashville, for Metro.”
Some of Metro’s nonprofit partners will pick up the monthly rent so residents won’t have to. The rents are adjusted based on 30% of the tenant’s income with a minimum rent of $25 a month.
The previous project was supposed to have 100 units, lower than housing advocates wanted, and the new project will have 82 units. Metro departments are working with Bell and Associates to finalize the design before construction begins on the 10-story building.
Metro officials are still working to determine the tenant eligibility criteria.
The housing will offer social services and medical space, so residents can have access to medical, mental health, dental and other medical services. The building will no longer include a community center space on the first floor to ensure residents have privacy.
The project is on target for a fall 2022 opening, and a member of the homeless planning council is already calling for a second, similar project to start.