There’s a lot that’s changed about Chattanooga in the past several decades. Just ask anybody that’s been around for a few decades and they’ll tell you. The smoke from polluting factories has left, and new parks and greenways are spring up. Everywhere you look, new condos and townhouses are springing up downtown, Northshore, and other parts of our communities.
But can everyday Chattanoogans afford those new condos?
What about poor and working families? Where will they go?
Although Chattanooga’s march towards revitalization has been notable, its left too many behind. Chattanooga has an affordable housing crisis, with low-income people and public and subsidized housing residents being hit the hardest.
Getting the Facts on Chattanooga’s Affordable Housing Crisis
According to the Chattanooga Affordable Housing Report, released in 2012, 1 in 2 households in Chattanooga’s urban core live in unaffordable housing and are burdened by housing costs. More than a quarter of all renters are severely burdened, paying more than 50% of their total income on housing costs.
Public Housing Continuing to Shrink To make matters worse, Chattanooga’s public housing communities have been shrinking for years. Public housing is part of the critical safety-net structure vital to the survival of low-income people. Unfortunately, city leaders have long ignored the needs of public and subsidized housing residents, resulting in long-waiting lists, needless evictions, unsafe conditions, and the demolition of their homes. The following are just a few brief facts surrounding the state of public housing in Chattanooga.
Over the past decade, six of Chattanooga’s public housing communities have been demolished, resulting in the loss of well over 1,000+ units. Multiple hundreds of families suffered massive displacement as a result.
Chattanooga: A Home for All Since the beginning of our organization back in 2010, Chattanooga Organized for Action has worked alongside community leaders in public and low-income housing to fight back against housing injustice and the creeping effects of gentrification and displacement. Through our organizing efforts, leaders in public housing have organized resident councils, fought for the improvement of their homes, and have saved historic public housing communities from destruction.
But fighting to save our homes is just the beginning. COA’s community partners have written and proposed affordable housing legislation, have hosted community meetings on the issues, and have researched and presented new models of housing to ensure every Chattanoogan gets to keep their homes.