Friday, January 8, 2016

Paul Johnson: Jim Harbison's explanation is "Disingenuous" and "intentionally obfuscating."

Paul Johnson
In the agency's defense responding to criticism that MDHA was not  requiring any units of affordable housing in the sale of three parcels of property in the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood of downtown Nashville, MDHA Executive Director Jim Harbison offered several explanations.

As reported by The Tennessean:  "He said MDHA has a goal of keeping the number of affordable housing units on Rolling Mill Hill below 30 percent of the overall stock to prevent the “concentration of poverty.”

That sounded like BS when I first read it. I am pleased to see  Paul Johnson explain it. The below quote is from Paul Johnson's Facebook page. Please read this carefully and I have added some highlighting. 
At best, it is disingenuous for MDHA to state that putting more affordable housing in Rolling Moll Hill would be "concentrating poverty." That is an intentionally obfuscating an divisive statement. The affordable housing that could go in these developments would most likely not be affordable to households with poverty level incomes, but rather to households with a little higher incomes whose needs still fall within the definition of affordable housing. What a missed opportunity to provide housing close to centers of work with short commutes for working families making $30,000-$60,000.
Paul Johnson is an expert on affordable housing and probably knows more about the topic than anybody else in Nashville.  He is Executive Director of The Housing Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution and worked for many years at MDHA. I commend him for having the courage to call out Jim Harbison for a BS defense of a hypocritical policy. 

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