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$5 Million Headed to City’s Affordable Housing Fund

3/11/2021
Andrea Fanta

Mayor, Affordable Housing Advocates Celebrate a “Promise Kept” for Barnes

Five million dollars is headed to the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, Mayor John Cooper today announced.
“Our affordable housing needs are urgent,” Mayor Cooper said. “After regaining financial stability in Nashville, we are getting back on track and fixing problems – and this investment is part of that pressing work.”

The money would support development of hundreds of affordable housing units, helping make Nashville a more accessible place for working families.

“This allocation to the Barnes Fund follows through on a commitment I made back in late 2019,” Mayor Cooper said. “I’m thrilled we are now able to make this investment and restore funds impounded during the budget crisis at the beginning of my term.”

So far, Barnes Fund grants have supported more than 2,200 affordable housing units, said Gina Emmanuel, who chairs the Housing Trust Fund Commission overseeing Barnes funds.

“Rev. Bill Barnes started the Housing Trust Fund with the hope of creating equitable affordable housing for all who needed it,” Emmanuel said. “We are thrilled to honor Rev. Barnes’s legacy by putting these resources toward the wonderful work of all those we are thankful to partner with.”

“This allocation by Mayor Cooper is an invaluable investment in affordable development, and I applaud his commitment to the ongoing work of the housing community,” said Zulfat Suara, a Metro Councilmember and member of the mayor’s affordable housing task force.

“In my work on Metro Council and on the affordable housing task force, I see firsthand how tirelessly individuals and organizations throughout the county are working to address this issue. Mayor Cooper’s announcement today validates his promise to work alongside us as we build a better Nashville,” she said.

In late 2019, Metro Finance impounded funds from the Barnes budget to help balance the city’s budget during a difficult financial period for Nashville. The impoundment lowered Barnes Fund grant awards by $4.5 million.

Mayor Cooper committed at the time to making the Barnes Fund whole. Subsequently, the COVID-19 pandemic slashed revenue projections for Metro’s budget in the 2021 fiscal year.

The mayor’s proposed investment goes before Metro Council in coming weeks for approval, part of a one-time Local Support Grant for Nashville.