Nashville Wrestles With Issue Of Low-Income Housing

<p>While programs for moderate-income first-time homebuyers are popular with residents, support for low-income rental housing remains low.</p>
January 9, 2007, 2pm PST | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"...As urban redevelopment has accelerated throughout Nashville, many affordable housing advocates argue that promoting homeownership is not enough. To address the needs of the city's poorest residents, those who will never make enough money to buy a home, Nashville will need more affordable rental housing..."

"The need for affordable housing is particularly acute in gentrifying neighborhoods because these are the areas where the poor have long lived. Uprooting these communities can be disastrous because it destroys the social networks of the poor and because it moves them farther from needed services, said Douglas Perkins, director of Vanderbilt's Center for Community Studies."

"Some argue, however, that displacing the poor is simply part of city life. Since at least the time of Solomon, who built his palace on a hill high over Jerusalem, the rich have chosen the best locations for their homes, leaving the poor to build where they could."

"...[Yet] promoting rental housing goes against a central tenet of urban redevelopment: that homeowners are better for the community because they pay taxes and have a vested interest in maintaining high standards of living.

Renters, this thinking goes, bring with them transience, crime and drug use."

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Published on Sunday, January 7, 2007 in The Tennessean
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