Nashville Councilwoman Aims To Battle Affordable Housing Shortage By Following The Numbers | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Councilwoman Aims To Battle Affordable Housing Shortage By Following The Numbers

Jun 4, 2018

A group of Metro Council members are looking for yet another way to stem the loss of affordable housing in Nashville. It involves keeping a close eye on the numbers.

Over the past year, 820 residences in Nashville were demolished, and another 4,200 were built. But how many of those are considered affordable? Was it a deficit? Or a surplus?

Councilwoman Burkley Allen wants to make sure we know those numbers.

She, along with councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge, filed two pieces of legislation that, if passed, would require the Mayor's office and the city's housing authority to publish a quarterly housing scorecard. It would specify exactly what types of residential properties are being demolished and being built.  

"Here's the net gain in this area, here is the loss in this area," Allen says. "How does it all add up. Are we going forwards or backwards?"

It's data that the city already compiles but only analyzes once a year, in the Mayor's annual housing report. And it's supposed to be updated regularly on the city's data portal, but it's buggy and not always up-to-date.

Allen says that knowing these figures faster is critical for battling Nashville's affordable housing loss, so developers and the city can correct course. That's because it's estimated that by 2025 Nashville will be short 31,000 affordable units.

"And so this is a way to track and see that we are making that number get smaller and smaller," Allen says.

The proposed ordinance and accompanying resolution are on the agenda for Tuesday's Metro Council Meeting.