Knoxville has a massive shortage in landlords for Section 8 housing and the city is losing more every year.
The Knoxville News Sentinel recently reported that affordable housing is being hit hard in Knoxville. Last year alone Knoxville saw a net loss of 400 Section 8 housing units. There are a few new housing projects underway that will support Section 8 tenants, but the waiting time can be years.
While families, veterans, and the disabled are given priority on the lists, many are left without an affordable option and only 40% of people who are searching for Section 8 housing are finding a place to live.
Affordable housing can be a touchy subject with many. The decrease in Section 8 housing is seen as a good thing for some. They are happy that property values are more likely to rise and that the neighborhood would likely see a boost in appearance.
While those things may be true, another truth is that the fair market value for many of Knoxville’s housing options are outside of the range of quite a few families and individuals, and they need places to live.
“I hope that people can understand that this is impacting people that we know. This could be impacting us.”
Linda Rust – Community Development Administrator
So what needs to be done?
More affordable housing options are essential. There are developers interested in building Section 8 housing units in Knoxville, but they are having a hard time finding the land to build these properties. Plus, tax credits for building Section 8 housing are not as generous as they have been in the past. Prompting some developers to not pursue affordable housing projects.
We need to locate areas for development where existing residents do not feel burdened with Section 8 housing near their homes. We need to make these projects appealing to developers who are looking to invest in the community. And we need to keep in mind that many of these families have such tight budgets that they also cannot afford reliable personal transportation and rely on public transportation. Which isn’t available to many Section 8 housing units because the units are sometimes located outside of the public transit system.
There is a problem with affordable housing in Knoxville and we need to work together as a community to put faces on these people who are without a place to live, and find solutions to fill the gaps to help the burden of someone searching for an affordable home.