More middle-income senior and workforce housing units planned in traditionally pricey areas

David Smith
Staff Writer
Over  $5 million will be spread out between 10 Nashville organizations for the creation of discounted housing units in pricey neighborhoods.
The Metro Housing Trust Fund Commission approved the amount for the Barnes Fund Spring Innovation Round.
“The Barnes Fund continues to be a great resource for non-profit developers to provide the funding necessary to build, maintain, and preserve affordable housing in Nashville,” said Mayor Megan Barry.
Fund recipients were selected based on level of creativity used to prevent the displacement of locals with plans prioritizing community needs.
“We look forward to working with non-profit developers to expand their capacity to create even more housing options in the future,” said Morgan Mansa, executive director of the Barnes Fund.
Many of the winning applications included housing options for seniors, large families, the unhoused population, ex-offenders, new Americans, victims of domestic violence, veterans, and persons with disabilities. The selected developments include mixed-income communities specifically designed to include police officers, fire fighters, and teachers.
Established in 2013, the Barnes Fund provides grants to non-profit developers that can be used to leverage federal and private funds to aid in the creation of affordable housing in Davidson County.
The $5 million Innovation Round amount, however, came from selling the former Nashville Convention Center.
Additionally, in April of 2016, Mayor Barry  committed $10 million per year for every year she’s in office to the fund.
To be eligible to receive housing funds, rental projects were required to compare with households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the median family income adjusted for family size. Homebuyer and homeowner rehabilitation projects to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the median family income, also adjusted for  size.
On November 21, the  Metro Council will vote on the resolution, officially authorizing the funds be allocated appropriately.
Additionally, the Housing Trust Fund Commission will begin to review grant requests for allocating this year’s $10 million from the Barnes Fund  throughout the fall then make recommendations. Winning applicants include:

Mary Parrish
(East Nashville)
The Mary Parrish Center provides a completely cost-free, two-year, therapeutic transitional housing program for women and their children who have become homeless      as a direct result of fleeing domestic and/or sexual violence. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in the United States, which is why it is so important that Nashville prioritize safe, affordable housing options for domestic and sexual violence victims. Their proposal includes the rehabilitation for 5 units for households below 30% of the AMI and 5 units for households earning 30 – 60 percent of the AMI.

Rebuilding Together Nashville (scattered site)
Rebuilding Together Nashville proposes to rehabilitate 39 homes for residents earning at or below 80% of the AMI. These residents would include seniors, persons with disabilities, and extremely low-income populations. Rehabilitating homes for lower-income residents is a critical component in preventing the displacement of long-time Nashvillians. These activities would not only help to bring homes up to code, but would also integrate energy efficiency measures and accessibility standards for   persons with disabilities and enable residents to age in place.

Affordable Housing Resources (scattered site)
Affordable Housing Resources seeks to build 12 single-family units for homeownership, scattered throughout East Nashville, North Nashville, and Madison. Each of these homes would have 3 bedrooms, meeting Nashville’s need to accommodate larger families. The homes would also be energy efficient and for households earning 60 – 80% of the AMI.

Woodbine Community Organi- zation (South Nashville)
This proposed project would provide a total of 20 accessible, ENERGY STAR® certified units which would accommodate seniors, veterans, extremely low-income individuals, and student care givers. The 20 units would be spread between several different levels of income, with Barnes Fund money helping to construct 19 of the 20 units. These units will be especially important, as housing for families below 60% AMI experience a demand gap of some 18,000 units.

New Level CDC
(West Nashville)
The six Barnes-funded townhomes in this West Nashville neighborhood will be part of a larger, mixed-income 330-unit community designed to provide affordable housing for teachers, police officers, and fire fighters. This project would enhance the community with a greenway for families, a dedicated Metro Nashville Public Schools bus stop for children and socioeconomic diversity for all.

Dismas, Inc.
(North Nashville)
Dismas, Inc. receives over 300 applications every year from formally incarcerated Nashvillians seeking to be a part of their program. Their current infrastructure affords them to serve eight clients at a time and through the Barnes Innovation round of funding, they will be able to increase their capacity by building 46 new units for their clients. All of these units will serve residents earning below 30% of the AMI.

Be a Helping Hand Foundation
(Wedgewood/ Houston)
The Be a Helping Hand Foundation seeks to build four units to provide transitional affordable housing for persons with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, women heads of the household, and large families. Large families in particular are one of the most underserved populations in affordable housing, as building large units is often not cost effective for non-profit developers or profitable for for-profit developers. In a previous ribbon-cutting ceremony for a BAHHF development, Mayor Megan Barry declared that “This is what affordable housing looks like.”

Mending Hearts, Inc.
(West Nashville)
These 16 affordable housing units will serve one of the most at-risk communities in Nashville, homeless special needs women. Almost 70% of Mending Hearts’ population has also been formerly incarcerated, making it even more difficult for them to find housing options. All of the units in this West Nashville project are dedicated to serving the lowest income women, and additionally, all units are environmentally sustainable.

Project Return (Madison)
These affordable housing units will be built specifically for persons who were formerly incarcerated. The project will seek to mix residents of different income levels; three units will be set aside for individuals earning below 60% of the AMI, while one unit will be available for on-site staff, earning over 80% AMI. Project Return’s    target participants are an extremely high-demand community in Nashville, as approximately 33% live with family and friends upon entering the program, while 60% live in temporary housing, halfway housing, shelters, or on the streets.