How this Tennessee housing policy denies opportunity for poor families


March 18, 2022 - Hanif and Latoya Akinyemi’s children at Windsor Pointe.

Latoya Akinyemi watches her youngest little ones as the heat-for-wintertime climate will allow them to play outdoors on a Sunday afternoon.

Her 4-12 months-aged son demonstrates off his scooter skills on the driveway, halting periodically to make certain he’s received spectators. His older brother rides his bicycle close by, crashes into the grass and laughs.

Akinyemi, who operates in healthcare billing, likes dwelling in the peaceful Winsdor Pointe subdivision in Whitehaven. There’s little site visitors to interrupt her kids’ enjoy and comparatively minimal crime. 

But Akinyemi, who grew up close by, isn’t as thrilled with the encompassing neighborhood. She and her husband see much too several teenagers with also little adult supervision and too number of constructive retailers, as nicely as decline in the neighborhood’s colleges. 

The Akinyemis and hundreds of other Memphians stay in neighborhoods with improperly rated universities and minimal incomes since of policy choices designed by a little-known state company.

March 18, 2022 - MEMPHIS, TN:  Hanif and Latoya Akinyemi at Windsor Pointe.

Photo by Andrea Morales for MLK50

As element of a federal method, the Tennessee Housing Advancement Company mainly dictates in which neighborhoods reasonably priced housing is constructed. In the very last 15 yrs, THDA has awarded just around $2 billion to subsidize extra than 200 minimal-cash flow housing developments across the state, like Windsor Pointe.

Tennessee’s method for identifying which developments get subsidies will make it an outlier. Of the nation’s 20 most significant states, only Tennessee and Florida really don’t reward developers for setting up in middle-class neighborhoods or in neighborhoods that have amenities like grocery merchants. 


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