The Westside Community Association announced Tuesday that it is hosting the “Summit on Affordable Housing” on Monday, from 6-8 p.m. The summit will be held at Renaissance Presbyterian Church at 1211 Boynton Drive in Chattanooga’s Westside community.
The summit, co-sponsored in part by the Westside Community Association, Chattanooga Organized for Action, and the Grove Street Settlement House, will serve to educate the public on Chattanooga’s affordable housing crisis, as well as highlight the Westside Community Association’s proposed legislative solution, the Affordable Housing Ordinance.
“The lack of affordable housing in our city is reaching crisis levels,” said Joyce Hardwick, president of the Westside Community Association. “Without stable and affordable homes, you can’t have a stable family or a stable life.”
Officials said, "The summit comes nearly two weeks after the Westside Community Association and members of COA presented the Report on Affordable Housing to the Chattanooga City Council. The report offers a devastating account of our city’s lack of affordable housing for our low-income families. In the city’s urban core, one out of every two households are burdened by housing costs, including 3,234 low-income renters who pay more than 50% of their income towards rent at a time when Chattanooga has been cited as having the third highest rising rents in the nation. Chattanooga’s homeowners face hardship as well; nearly half of all mortgage-holding homeowners are economically burdened."
“The trend towards housing unaffordability is growing," said Courtney Knapp, a former housing planner. “In 2010, a Brookings Institute report listed Chattanooga as the second in the top ten cities for increases in poverty. That next year, the Times Free Press quoted a study by real estate trends analysts that found that Chattanooga has the third highest rising rents in the nation. Our research through the Report on Affordable Housing points to the need for action.”
Official said the summit comes one day before the Chattanooga City Council is set to hold a first reading on the Affordable Housing Ordinance. Written by the Westside Community Association and based upon similar legislation found in over 200 cities and two states all across the nation, the ordinance would increase, maintain, and improve the city’s stock of affordable housing in the urban core by mandating, among other items, that new residential developments built in the urban core with more than 10 units lease at least one out of every 10 units to low-income families.
Members of the Chattanooga City Council have been invited to attend The Summit on Affordable Housing in order to learn more about the affordable housing crisis and the Affordable Housing Ordinance. The Westside is also sending invitations to leaders with various stakeholders including the Chattanooga Housing Authority, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, the River City Company, and the Regional Planning Agency. Attendance is free and the public is invited.