KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If more than 30% of your household income goes toward monthly rent, you are not alone. Becky Wade, director of Housing and Neighborhood Development for the city of Knoxville, cited census data showing more than half of renters in the city are burdened by housing costs.
As the cost of housing continues to rise, so does the need for more affordable options. It’s why city leaders continue investing in the city’s affordable housing fund.
“It is important to make sure that you’ve got a variety of housing types so people that work here can live here,” Wade said.
The fund will have helped create 788 new apartments in the city by the end of the year since it was established in 2017 – and more are on the way.
City Council signed off on spending $1.98 million on a project in the Inskip neighborhood this week, which will create 66 new apartments. A few weeks prior, they approved a $2 million investment in the Ammons on Asheville Highway. That development will create 80 new apartments.
In her most recent budget, Mayor Indya Kincannon included $8.1 million for the affordable housing fund, and pledged to commit $50 million over the next 10 years.
Wade explained city funds help fill any gaps with new rental developments, given rental rates are capped based on area incomes.
“We will provide up to thirty-thousand dollars per apartment to fill a gap if that gap exists between what financing they have and what it costs to build the development,” she said.
The partnership creates a housing option for low-income households. Families earning up to 80% of the area median income are eligible. For a family of four, 80% would be $58,400 total income.
“This is for working people,” Wade said. “We also know the need is so great for lower incomes, that often those are the households that apply first for this housing.”.
The housing fund supports both affordable rental development and permanent supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing would serve those earning below 30% of the area median income, including those experiencing homelessness.
Hundreds of new affordable rental and permanent supportive housing units are either under construction or will be under construction soon.