NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As the city of Nashville faces budget deficits, Mayor John Cooper made a controversial decision to cut a major affordable housing grant in half.
Housing organizations joined together on Tuesday night to fight for that funding to be restored on Metro Public Square. Many saying the $10 million in grant funding was not enough to begin with, but half is not acceptable.
“I understand the city is in a very tough place financially, and although this has happened under the watch of Mayor Cooper, I think this goes back two, maybe three mayors,” PATHE Lead Organizer Jackie Sims said.
Sims says only allocating $4.5 million to provide non-profits with affordable housing funds could have serious consequences for the growing city.
“Having 10 million was no where near sufficient. So to cut any amount of money that was not even beginning to address the problem is deeply concerning,” Sims said. “Most of us do have roofs over our heads, we have to care more about those who don’t.”
Mayor Cooper says he doesn’t want to make promises he can’t keep.
“It’s hard on me not to be able to do the full grant cycle right now, we hope to be able to. I feel that we will be able to in a few months as we recover,” Cooper said.
Cooper says he hopes to see that funding restored by new revenues over the next several months.
“We are going to go ahead and fund them just as soon as we can, but if you don’t have the cash you can’t write the check,” Cooper said.
A few metro council members joined the rally outside before the council meeting on Tuesday night to give their support for affordable housing initiatives to continue.
Housing leaders met with Cooper before the rally and described his response to their frustrations as attentive and positive.