Community leaders encourage protecting storm-damaged properties from developers

Nashville Tornado

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The aftermath of Middle Tennessee’s deadly tornado outbreak can leave behind opportunities to take advantage, a Nashville-based nonprofit is trying to fight against those opportunities.

The Equity Alliance is specifically-targeting North Nashville by informing homeowners of their options for their storm-damaged properties.

“This is a message to send to developers and those alike who want to prey on people’s vulnerabilities and misfortune, that this is not a place to come if you’re looking to profit,” said Charlane Oliver, founder of The Equity Alliance

On Monday, the nonprofit held two homeowners’ meetings called “#Don’tSellOutNorf”.

The meetings had real estate agents, insurance experts, and disaster relief officials on-site to answer questions from the homeowners.

Oliver explained that after every natural disaster, developers come into historically black neighborhoods, offer rates for far less than market value, and then re-develop the area into businesses and housing that aren’t affordable for many of the neighborhood’s original residents.

“North Nashville is the last stronghold, where historical black neighborhoods where families have lived for decades, they have lived in these homes, they’ve been born and raised and we want them to stay there,” said Oliver.

Monday’s meeting provided flyers and signs for residents to put in their yards that said, “Don’t Sell! Won’t Sell! I’m an informed homeowner!”

Oliver told News 2 that it’s important for families to not sell, and to stay at their properties because land ownership increases generational wealth.

North Nashville native, Meredith Freeman, attended Monday’s meeting and picked up a sign for her uncle’s front yard.

Freeman said, “They’re not making any more land if you want some land to be able to pass down to your family members for generations and generations that’s what’s important.”

Freeman’s uncle, Ford Otey, was raised on Heiman Street in North Nashville. He said that his family has owned the property for a hundred years. Historically, the Otey family also owned several businesses in North Nashville.

Otey said, “Never sell out. Don’t sell.”

Otey reflected on and shared stories of North Nashville’s history. He said that he’s witnessed the neighborhood change daily. He added that he hopes the black community can preserve its legacy and heritage in the area.

“Resilient …that’s how I’d describe this area. A lot of love …I hope to keep that history here.” said Otey.

If you want information on how you can protect your property, contact The Equity Alliance.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of Super Tuesday tornado rebuilding and recovery.

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