Thursday, October 6, 2022

Don't lose your Nashville home because of high taxes.

by Rod Williams, October 5, 2022-  It is no secret that property values have soared in Nashville in recent years. Some people who never would have been able to accumulate significant wealth now have a net worth they never dreamed they would have. Homeownership is the major source of wealth for most Americans, and rising home prices can be good news for current homeowners, However, increased home values also have a downside. Many people are in danger of losing their homes due to increased property taxes. 

Property taxes are both a function of the tax rate and a property's value. Increased property values along with a local government that wants to spend more and more mean some people, especially those on a fixed income, may be at risk of losing their home. 

For many people in this situation, there are government programs to help with property taxes. These are mentioned in the below press release from Metro Trustee Erica Gilmore. The two major programs are Tax Freeze and Tax Relief.

For most of my working life, I worked as a housing counselor, helping low-income people become homeowners or helping homeowners in crisis avoid losing their home. One thing I observed during my career is that politically conservative people are much more reluctant to seek help than liberals. That may be because they feel it is hypocritical to ask for government help when they tend to oppose many welfare programs.  Also, people of a conservative persuasion may place a greater value on individual self-reliance and would find it embarrassing to seek help.

Also, I think conservatives or socially middle-class people, especially White socially middle-class people, are often simply often unaware of government programs. For the lower socioeconomic classes, especially members of the Black community, there is much more knowledge of government programs. There are non-profit organizations and Black churches that serve as a source of information and outreach in some communities. This is much less prevalent in other communities. 

Anyone may need help from time to time.  When it comes to tax relief programs, conservatives who need help should not be hesitant to seek it.  After all, you are a victim of liberals who increased your tax taxes; you did not choose higher taxes. Also, I know it should not be this way, but some White people have a view that some assistance programs are only for Black people. Obviously, not so.  

I have contempt for people who make it a lifestyle to chase welfare benefits.  However, sometimes any of us may need help.  I have been unemployed at different points in my life.  I never hesitated to apply for unemployment insurance when I needed it.  That is what is there for, I paid for it when I was working. I was not ashamed to seek it when I needed it.

Please don't let a sense of pride keep you from seeking help that could keep you from losing your home.  You may have to have to swallow some pride in seeking help. Do it. It is better than being homeless and is probably better than burdening your children by asking for help.

One other option for avoiding losing your home that is right for some people is a reverse mortgage. For people who are skrimping to get by but have no childrent to leave an inheritance to, I think a reverse mortgage can be an excellent option.  There are drawbacks to a reverse mortgage and it is not right for everyone.  Before getting one, one should be well informed. Don't rush into it, but don't reject it out of hand. Hud-approved housing counselors who do not have a financial interest in you getting a reverse mortgage can provide unbiased information.  For a list of HUD-approved counselors in your area follow this link and see "Search for a Housing Counselor." 

To those in a position to advise others and who often encounter people in crisis, such as city council members, other elected officials, guidance counselors, pastors, and church leaders, please become aware of these programs.  You do not have to become an expert but be aware enough to tell people these programs exist and where people in need should turn for help. 

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From Davidson County Trustee Erica Gilmore: The Office of the Metropolitan Trustee invites you to
the "Disrupt and Dismantle" screening from Soledad O'Brien on Thursday, October 13, 2022. The screening will take place at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson Street, Nashville, starting at 11:30 am. 

The docu-series highlights the rise of property taxes and ownership in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, an affluent community similar to Nashville. As highlighted in the docu-series, pressure from investors for property owners to sell their homes is real. Unfortunately, property owners are not always willing to sell, yet it is sometimes challenging to maintain rising property taxes. 

We are here to help and offer resources and solutions to "Keep Nashville Home." We want all Davidson County property owners equipped to make informed decisions about their property. 

Following the screening, we will have a panel discussion with John Manson – Special Counsel; Alisha Haddock – The Housing Fund; Brian Sexton – MDHA; Andrea Barbour – Metro Planning Department; and Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr. – Tennessee State University Professor / Historic Zoning Commissioner.

We look forward to you attending and learning about Tax Freeze and Tax Relief programs, estate planning, and the importance of having a will, including other resources available to Davidson County property owners. For a pre-screening discussion with the panel, tune in Sunday, October 9th, to Let's Talk on 92.1, WQQK, a Cumulus station.  

We are excited to learn about home repair programs offered through MDHA. "The purpose of the Home Repair program is to stabilize and correct health and safety issues, accessibility deficiencies related to health and safety of the occupants, and address lead or asbestos removal, if applicable. Also, systems updated or replaced will be replaced with systems that promote energy," said Sexton. Click the link to learn more about the MDHA Home Repair program.

The Housing Fund will offer resources to aid in "Keeping Nashville Home" Haddock stated, "The Housing Fund offers several programs for homeowners and landlords. Our consumer lending department offers down payment assistance, homebuyer education, money management, home improvement loans, shared equity, and the community loan center. In addition, we offer development lending, focusing on multi-family units, single-family units, and community facilities. We also provide grants such as The Housing Resiliency Fund for property tax relief for homeowners under 120% AMI and landlords providing fair market rent in Davidson County, Covid-19 relief, and the CDFI Fund."

The Housing Resiliency Fund provides property tax relief to eligible homeowners in zip codes 37013, 37206, 37207, 37208, 37211, 37216, and 37218.

Homeowners, click the link to find out if you qualify for The Housing Resiliency Fund. 

The program has expanded its services to assist nonprofit organizations and small landlords of affordable housing units and subsidized rental properties with existing property tax bills. Applications are being accepted.

Landlords, click here:  The Housing Resiliency Fund.

Lastly, Attorney Manson will provide expertise about probate court, including matters related to the administration of a deceased person's estates, including the probating of wills.

This docu-series screening is FREE and open to the public. We ask that you share this information with anyone that may benefit from the many resources available through various programs. 

Please email trustee@nashville.gov or call 615-862-6330 for more details.


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