What Tennessee's Housing Authority Learned from the I'M HOME Conference

Like in many states, Tennessee faces a challenge in creating safe, affordable housing to keep up with growing demand. Indeed, our research at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) shows that a great portion of the affordable housing in our state is rendered unaffordable once transportation costs are considered.

“Seven out of every 10 census tracts are considered affordable when you look at housing costs alone, but only about two out of every 10 census tracts would be considered affordable when transportation costs are included as well,” according to THDA’s Transportation as a Key to Housing Affordability Issue Brief.

The effect is especially pronounced in rural areas of Tennessee and among low- to moderate-income households.

Building off the 2018 Prosperity Now I’M HOME Conference held in Nashville, THDA is proud to help further the discussions about how best to facilitate manufactured housing as an accepted housing option for consumers. Our strong commitment to sponsor and participate in I’M HOME conferences indicates the value we place upon the leadership and expertise convened at these events by the Prosperity Now team.

In the panels we participated in, it was clear that existing policies are behind in their regulation of the manufactured housing industry in several key areas. In some cases, it is obvious that manufactured housing was not considered at all as laws, rules and policies are being created at federal, state and local levels.

For example, we learned that certain disaster recovery programs treat owners of non-chattel manufactured housing who do not own their land differently than owners of site-built homes. These manufactured homeowners are excluded from typical recovery programs. That is because the inherent contradiction of owning the home, but not the land underneath it, does not fit neatly into the presumptive categories.

As a conference, I’M HOME ranks among the best organized I have experienced. The timing of the schedule allowed for great depth in knowledge to be shared in sessions, but kept enough time between sessions to facilitate multiple networking opportunities without feeling rushed.

The connections forged at the conference made it possible for staff from THDA to join with NextStep for a visit to see a development of the New Class homes being built by Clayton Homes.

This I’M HOME conference benefited from the attendance of two prominent leaders, former Nashville Mayor and former Prosperity Now board member, Bill Purcell; and the current Nashville Mayor David Briley. Both men addressed the contradiction of housing being affordable as residents struggle or are priced out of established neighborhoods by gentrification. In their words, the growth of Nashville, which is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, must coincide with deliberate choices to preserve or expand access to affordable housing for all of the city’s residents.

If our communities are going to be successful for everyone, there needs to be safe, affordable housing options available to them. THDA will continue to work with Prosperity Now on this critically important work. We hope to see you at the next I’M HOME conference in 2019.

Want to stay up to date with our work and the latest news in the manufactured housing space? Join the I'M HOME Network! 

Save the date for the 2019 I'M HOME Conference, taking place in Portland, Oregon from November 18-20! More details will be revealed in the coming months. Check out last year's conference materials

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