NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Kirkpatrick Park is a brand new mixed-income housing development in East Nashville.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson toured one of the units Friday morning.
The property was funded with a $20,950,616 loan from HUD and opened this year after breaking ground in 2017.
It has 36 HUD funded units that are now the home of residents who used to live in public housing at Cayce Homes.
There are also 38 market rate units.
“I love to come to places that have successfully used government programs in conjunction with local facilities, with non-profits, with faith-based organizations, to demonstrate what can be done because in this country – with the resources that we have, with the talent we have, there’s really no reason for anybody to live in desperation,” Dr. Carson said.
He also met a woman who lives in another MDHA mixed-income apartment complex and said living in this kind of community has changed her life.
“I used to come out of my backyard and you’d see nothing but tragedy in the projects and stuff. It was awful. I got that view of overlooking Nashville and it’s like I was close to heaven. I was in a castle. I was a princess. And no one could take it away from me,” said Pauline Hunter.
Hunter said that because of her new surroundings, she’s been able to get a new job, a new car, gotten married, and attends church.
“From being homeless to going to Cayce – the old Cayce – and I met a lady named Miss Jackson that changed my life forever – her and Mr. Williams. From there I went on the waiting list to get into these brand new apartments and ever since then my life has changed – God has continued to bless me and I cry I can’t help it,” said Hunter.
Dr. Carson said mixed-income developments can help to improve communities.
“When you have mixed income communities, a lot of people from various areas get to know each other. One of the dangers, I think, in society is when we become disjointed, when we don’t talk to each other, when we get in our respective corners and we demonize each other,” Dr. Carson said. “We tend to segregate ourselves and I think the biggest reason for segregation is economic.”
Dr. Carson also talked about HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which helps local housing authorities and he said he’s asked Congress for an additional $100 million to fund that program.
“We’ve got to really start asking ourselves why is it so difficult to build affordable housing? Of course, it’s multi factorial. But a large part of it stems from all of the regulations – zoning regulations, height restrictions, density restrictions, energy restrictions, historic preservation, parking space – it just goes on and on and on. You take something that was to be affordable and by the time you throw all that on top of it, it’s no longer affordable,” Carson said.