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Affordable Housing Lacking For UC Women

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Affordable Housing Lacking For UC Women

The community needs to focus on the supply of affordable housing for women.

Upper Cumberland Habitat for Humanity sponsored a forum on the topic Tuesday as part of its Women Build Week. Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition Executive Director Dominique Pryor-Anderson said finding affordable housing for a single mother is a challenge.

“You have to find the right school district, so that your child gets the adequate education as you may feel,” Pryor-Anderson said. “You want to be able to afford the house, and then you want it to be in a nice location. So, we put all of these things in this mix, all the variables in the mix. If it doesn’t come together, then you have an issue. So now, we have to think about what part do we give up.”

Pryor-Anderson said the Upper Cumberland’s main issue for housing is the aging population. Upper Cumberland Habitat for Humanity Director of Development and Communications Casey Clark-Jackson said houses are also getting older resulting in less opportunities for this group.

“We’re dealing with a lot of existing houses that are difficult to repair, or maybe they cost more to repair than the house is even worth,” Clark-Jackson said. “So that is a huge issue here, and then also there is not a lot of supply right now.”

According to Clark-Jackson, there are about 29,000 households in Putnam County. Of those, a third are renters and half of them spend at least 50 percent of their income on rent.

“So that could mean that a mother is choosing between spending more money on rent and having a less than desirable school for my child to go to,” Clark-Jackson said. “Or, Am I not going to have any money left other for healthcare or food. These are very real concerns our women are having to face in this area.”

Clark-Jackson said finding affordable solutions to house women is complex. The Upper Cumberland Habitat for Humanity is advocating for more affordable housing and turning renters into homeowners.

“Reality is we got to take action,” Clark-Jackson said. “We need to act now, and we need to start really advocating for these things. First thing is we can contact our congress people about these issues and increase funding. We can contact our local government leaders about zoning changes and incentivizations for builders and investors to come into our area and build affordable housing.”

Pryor-Anderson said she recommends starting low on the totem pole and work your way up to make a change. This event is a part of Habitat for Humanities Women Build Week 2021.


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