We began this week with some deeply sad news, as we learned over the weekend about the death of Chattanooga Police Department Officer Nicholas Galinger. Officer Galinger was struck by a vehicle while inspecting a manhole on Saturday evening and later succumbed to his injuries.

This incident came soon after the untimely passing of Sgt. John Monroe, the department’s beloved and highly respected Training Sergeant, only a few days before.

Our community grieves the loss of these two outstanding public servants. Please keep their families, their colleagues on the Chattanooga Police Department, and all of our first responders in your thoughts during this time.

Over the last month, you’ve heard us talk about different ways that City Hall is investing in our neighborhoods. Our Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund will spend more than a million and a half dollars in the year ahead to improve parks, sidewalks, streetlights, and small businesses throughout our community. We’re taking input from the community and we’re responding with investments that will make all of our neighborhoods more safe, beautiful, and connected.

However, we still face real challenges with access to affordable housing.

We all know that Chattanooga is growing and changing  — but we can still grow the right way. As our population increases, we’re seeing housing prices in some parts of town rise incredibly quickly. Making sure we have a variety of housing types and options, priced to meet the needs of different families, will create the kind of diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods that make our whole city stronger. Simply put, when we put a roof over someone’s head, we put a foundation under their feet.

That’s why I worked with the Chattanooga City Council to include a $1 million Affordable Housing Fund in last year’s budget. Earlier this week, I visited the Avondale neighborhood with Council members Erskine Oglesby and Anthony Byrd, alongside a great group of community leaders, to talk about what this fund can do for our city:

  • We’re going to preserve existing affordable housing through renovation. That includes fixing up vacant properties like some of the empty duplexes on Milne Street. Our Affordable Housing Fund can help pay for these properties to be renovated so that they can be sold to new owners — who can then rent half of the property. We’ll help stabilize these neighborhoods by bringing in new owner-occupants, new income streams, and new affordable housing units for people who need them.
  • We’re going to create affordable units for rent and for ownership through new construction. We can partner with private-sector developers to make sure that when they build new projects, they’re building in affordability from the ground-up. The Affordable Housing Fund can help keep housing prices within reach of our working families and those living on a fixed income.
  • We’re going to increase access to homeownership through collaborative homebuyer programs and leveraging funds from homebuilders, realtors, foundations, and banks. 

For more information on our Affordable Housing Fund, please call Sandra Gober in our Economic & Community Development department at 423-643-7332.

You may have read some stories in the media recently about people who are being displaced by hotel closures. The City of Chattanooga and our many community partners are still doing everything we can to help these families and transition them into permanent housing. Right now, 13 veterans and 32 individuals from recent hotel closures are experiencing homelessness and looking for 1-bedroom housing units. They have vouchers to pay for their unit, but cannot find an open one to rent. Are you — or do you know — a landlord with a rental unit who can help our neighbors? Click here to sign up with your information. I’ll be highlighting hero landlords in the coming month that help us house people in need.

Thank you for all you do for our city and please stay safe this week.

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