Mayor Cooper Releases Affordable Housing Taskforce Report

Mayor John Cooper has issued a key report detailing steps Nashville can take in the next three years to address its pressing affordable housing needs.

In the report, the mayor’s 22-expert Affordable Housing Taskforce provides nine priority recommendations (PDF) for making significant progress between now and 2024.

“Nashville must be a city that works for everyone,” Mayor Cooper said. “And – in a city that works for everyone – everyone who works here should be able to live here. That includes our teachers, first responders, and food service workers – the essential workers who got us through this past year.

“The scale and urgency of Nashville’s housing crisis is significant, and I am thankful for and impressed with the speed at which Mayor Cooper has taken action,” said Edward Henley, the task force’s co-chair.

What Is Affordable Housing?

An economically secure resident will spend no more than 30 percent of their annual income on rent or a mortgage, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In Nashville, an estimated 65,000 households – just less than half of Davidson County’s renters – exceeded that threshold, pre-pandemic. Meanwhile – though the inventory is more difficult to track– the options for affordable homeownership are even fewer.

That leaves families of four that earn $0 to $67,450 – including Nashville’s teachers and first responders – struggling to find housing they can afford in the city they serve.

And the problem has only worsened in the last 18 months, with pandemic-related relocations bringing more people to Nashville and supply-chain bottlenecks choking off building material supplies and driving up construction costs.

The Forecast for 2030

Nashville’s public and private housing providers create and preserve access to an estimated 1,350 affordable housing units a year. To avoid a potential 50,000-unit shortage by 2030, annual production should increase by as much as fourfold, to 5,250 units.

Multiple factors – like wages and building costs – will affect housing affordability at any given time, but there is a constant: Building a city’s affordable housing ecosystem requires funding and policy action at the municipal, state and federal levels.