MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The search for affordable housing has been an ongoing issue in Memphis even before COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been magnified.
The 2020 State of Memphis Housing Report released by the city Monday outlines how housing has drastically changed over the past 50 years.
The report looks at trends that existed in the 70′s and goes all the way to present pandemic days.
There’s a comparison between now and the 2008 housing crisis, and they also reference programs that have worked.
Paul Young, Director of Housing and Community Development with the City of Memphis, says there are two major issues.
“One of our bigger challenges is disinvestment, the fact that we aren’t seeing dollars flood into the communities as they need in order for the housing stock to be rehabilitated,” Young said.
Young says disinvestment along with a shrinking pool of affordable housing units that help low-income families have contributed to the housing crisis in Memphis.
“The Memphis Metropolitan area which has about 1.2 million people has a shortage of 38,000 affordable housing units,” Young said.
According to the report, evictions are a key driver of homelessness in Memphis.
The report states, “Before COVID-19, on average, one in five renting Memphians would face an eviction filing resulting in more than 30,000 eviction filings each year.”
Young says the 2008 housing crisis is not very different from the current climate.
“Many of those neighborhoods that were impacted are some of those that are also most vulnerable for social and economic repercussions for COVID-19, so things like evictions with the loss of those affordable housing units and housing stability for families those geographies are relatively the same,” Young said.
Young says the Division of Housing & Community Development will continue this conversation virtually at the 2nd Annual State of Memphis Housing Summit on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Local and national leaders will be part of the summit.