Nashville advocates demand Mayor make affordable housing a top priority

With one week remaining before the Nashville mayoral election, candidates are doing everything they can to win over voters.

On Thursday night they tacked one of the biggest issues facing Nashville – affordable housing.

It’s not just families living below the poverty line that are trying to stay above water.

It’s firefighters, childcare workers and bus drivers, many people making less than $45,000 per year are feeling the struggle.

“I really want it to be diverse and I want it to be affordable for people who want to be here and I want those people to be part of my neighborhood,” said Vicki Metzgar, who lives in the Germantown area.

According to Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), which hosted Thursday’s forum, rent and property taxes went up as much as 57 percent for Nashville residents in 2017.

NOAH said 44 percent of all renters are cost-burdened and 70 percent of low-income renters are cost-burdened.

HUD describes cost-burdened families as those who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.

It’s a huge issue that affordable housing advocates argue has not gotten a lot of attention.

“We are looking for the same energy around affordable housing that public officials and the mayors have galvanized around things such as the soccer stadium, the same energy people galvanized against transit. It needs to be a high priority,” said NOAH spokesperson Paulette Coleman.

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