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VOL. 41 | NO. 4 | Friday, January 27, 2017

Affordable housing: Why should we care?

By Linda Bryant

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James Fraser, a Vanderbilt University professor of human and organizational development and urban planner, says gentrification — and its companion affordable housing issues — affect most Nashvillians and taxpayers whether they realize it or not.

“Housing is connected to economic development,” he says. “Many (economists) say that when housing is too expensive and not accessible for different (salary) levels of the workforce, it actually has a negative effect on recruitment for new jobs and businesses to the city.”

Fraser says bad things can happen when service workers – teachers, police and firefighters, even retail and restaurant workers – can’t find affordable living within the city.

“Either they live further out of the city or in precarious situations in the city or move somewhere else,” he says.

“It really is important to provide housing products that will accommodate a variety of workforces.”

The number of people directly affected is often surprising.

“Affordable housing is not just for people in abject poverty, but for people of moderate and middle class incomes,” he explains.

“We aren’t just talking about a small population,” Fraser says.”We’re talking about tens of thousands of people. More and more the affordable housing crisis affects people of the middle class. Everyone I talk to knows someone, whether it’s a family member or friend, who’s looking for accessible housing.

“We aren’t just talking about: ‘Can you find a place?’ we’re talking about not being house poor,” Fraser adds. “We’re not just talking about an affordable housing problem, we’re talking about an affordable living problem.”

Fraser says he believes the upcoming 2017 property tax reappraisal should wake up more property owners to the issue.

“This time next year we’re going to see a resurgence of activism around affordable housing. It will become more obvious that people who consider themselves middle class are affected.”

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0