Nashville has housing shortage for low-income disabled residents - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville has housing shortage for low-income disabled residents

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

People with disabilities who say they've been trapped for weeks at a north Nashville apartment complex without a working elevator are now being allowed out of their lease.

Channel 4 News reported last week about problems at Granstaff Apartments, where the elevator in one building has been broken for more than a month.

For someone in good health, the 28 stairs would be little more than an inconvenience, but for Barbara Fitzpatrick and her 15 neighbors who have disabilities, climbing them for the past month has debilitating.

"You sit down and rest. And then you go up to the next floor, and you sit down and rest again," she said.

Managers say it will probably be two more months before it's fixed, so the affected residents in the government-subsidized building have been given the go-ahead to move.

But there's an even bigger challenge, because even if they wanted to, there's simply no place in Nashville for people receiving government assistance to go.

In researching this story over the past few days, we've discovered that there's a serious shortage of housing in Nashville for disabled residents who are considered low-income.

Experts with the Tennessee Fair Housing Council say the community is quickly approaching what many consider a crisis.

"The closing of a small apartment complex shouldn't create a humanitarian crisis, but it does, because Nashville just does not have enough housing to absorb populations who just don't have a lot of money," said Tracey McCartney with the Tennessee Fair Housing Council.

Despite the tremendous growth Nashville has seen over the past 14 years, the city actually has about 650 fewer public housing units than it did in 2000. And while a number of federal programs have expanded over the years to try and account for that, there's still not enough low-income housing.

Property managers at Granstaff Apartments have placed chairs at the top of each landing to give residents making the climb a place to stop and rest.

Outside that, they'll have no choice but to make the best of it, as temperatures heat up.

One of the third floor residents at Granstaff was hospitalized over the weekend as the battery in her defibrillator implant has been affected by all the extra exertion on her heart.

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