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Barnes Trust Fund Proposes Building of 221 Affordable Housing Units to Metro Council

November 1, 2017

The Metro Housing Trust Fund Commission approved the funding recommendation for the Barnes Fund Spring Innovation Round. A total of $5,080,377.19 will be awarded to 10 organizations for the creation of 163 Barnes-funded housing units in developments that will result in 221 affordable housing units overall. 

“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. “While we have a great deal of work to do to close the housing gap in Nashville, these additional units will make important and lasting differences in the lives of working families and those in need in Davidson County.” 

The recipients of the funding awards were selected after a competitive application process that sought out ways to creatively prevent the displacement of Nashvillians with plans that respected the community’s needs and increased affordable housing options. 

“The funding provided by the Barnes Fund continues to make a difference in the lives of Nashvillians who struggle to find quality affordable housing options,” said Morgan Mansa, executive director of the Barnes Fund. “We look forward to working with non-profit developers to expand their capacity to create even more housing options in the future.” 

Many of the winning applications included housing options for some of Nashville’s most vulnerable populations, such as seniors, large families, the unhoused population, ex-offenders, New Americans, victims of domestic violence, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Proposed developments will also include mixed-income communities and prioritize housing for police officers, fire fighters, and teachers.

In April of 2016, Mayor Megan Barry committed to allocating $10 million per year for every year she is in office to the Barnes Trust Fund for Affordable Housing. An additional $5 million was allocated from the sale of the former Nashville Convention Center which funded this Innovation Round. 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. Eligible projects must create or preserve affordable housing opportunities in Nashville and Davidson County. Rental projects must be affordable to households with incomes at or below 60% of the median family income adjusted for family size. Homebuyer and homeowner rehabilitation projects must be affordable to households with incomes at or below 80% of the median family income adjusted for family size.

The resolution authorizing the $5 million in grant allocations will be considered by the Metro Council at the November 21, 2017 meeting. The Barnes Fund recently accepted applications for $10 million worth of grants that will be reviewed and considered by the Housing Trust Fund Commission in the coming months. 

Winning applications 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 % 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.

Habitat for Humanity – Nashville (Antioch)
Habitat for Humanity has built 29 homes in the Antioch area since 2012, and the eight more proposed homes would further their commitment to the community. Through housing provided at a 0% interest mortgage, members of Nashville’s vulnerable populations, such as New Americans, women heads of household, and large families, will have the opportunity to work towards financial stability and long-term homeownership.

Woodbine Community Organization
(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.