HUD Secretary says Memphis is on right track addressing public housing crisis

Public housing in Memphis is on the right track

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Aging homes and a lack of federal funding to make the needed repairs and upgrades are the two big drivers of the crisis according to Memphis Housing Authority.

Despite that, HUD Secretary Ben Carson says the Bluff City is on the right track.

At Foote Park at South City, once the site of the last traditional public housing complex in Memphis, crews are wrapping up work on the first phase of redevelopment. The completion of phase one will bring 114 mixed-income homes to the city.

Residents ready to break in renewed housing development, Foote Park at South City

This new development comes as the country combats a public housing crisis brought on by a combination of an aging Baby Boomer population, deteriorating public housing and the rising cost of living.

“The affordable housing situation, there is actually a crisis in this country,” Carson said Friday during his visit to Memphis.

During that visit Secretary Carson toured the new South City development.

“I think Memphis is making a very good start,” he said.

Currently, Memphis Housing Authority serves more than 10,000 homes through its Housing Choice Voucher program and public housing.

Dexter Washington, Chief Operating Officer of MHA Washington says grants have helped the city make great strides to replace and upgrade public housing.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition latest data in 2017 there were just under 50,000 extremely low income renter households in Memphis alone. In contrast, there were close to 16,000 affordable and available rental homes.

“That need is great all across the country. Memphis has done a great job in addressing this public housing deficiencies. They of course still do exist and we are still going down a path of addressing them,” said Washington.

Foote Park at South City is just one of developments in construction stage to help address the need for more affordable housing. In September, the City of Memphis began demolition on the new Tillman Cove mixed-use and mixed-income living.

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