Chattanooga is the City that the Washington Post described as "well on its way of becoming the prettiest City for its size in America." Located in Hamilton County, it is conveniently located at the intersection of Interstates 24, 59, and 75, and is within a day's drive from one half of the U.S. population. With the amazing, privately-funded Tennessee Aquarium anchoring downtown and the riverfront renaissance, Chattanooga is a leader in implementing environmentally sensitive projects and activities. One of the first things you will notice in Chattanooga is the Tennessee River which runs through the City. Landscaped archways reflect the local geography and chronological bands mark the events that have marked Chattanooga, including the Civil War, the Trails of Tears, the City's railroad heritage, the civil rights movement, the Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, and the world's first Coca-Cola bottling operation.
For 1995 the City has $3,712,000 in entitlement grants and an estimated $275,000 in program income. Using these funds, the City will provide: affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization activities; improvements to public housing units and public facilities in housing developments; essential park and recreation improvements; essential public facilities and improvements; crime prevention programs; and assistance to homeless persons and facilities.
The City sponsored two public hearings on the Consolidated Plan. Publicity for the meetings included notices in the Chattanooga News-Free Press and Chattanooga Times and a summary of the plan was published in the local newspaper. Public and private agencies that provide assisted housing, health services and social services consulted in the planning process and were instrumental to the development of the Consolidated Plan.
The Community Development Advisory Committee advised on projects for
funding, determined community priorities and will assist in evaluating
activities. A complete draft was made available to the public on April 17,
1995, at the Office of Economic and Community Development, Chattanooga-Hamilton
County Bicentennial Library, South Chattanooga Branch Library, and Community
Resource Board. The projects were approved by the City Council at an open
public meeting on April 4, 1995.
Located in Hamilton County, Chattanooga has a population of 152,466. In 1990 the median family income (MFI) for Chattanooga was $34,400 for a family of four.
The racial balance within the City limits has shifted slightly, with the
White majority decreasing from 67 percent in 1980 to 65 percent in 1990. While
the African American percentage of the total population increased from 31 to 34
percent, this population decreased 4 percent overall in the City, principally
because of the overall decline in City population. Minority populations, other
than African American, are not numerically significant. Two small exceptions
are Asian and Pacific Islanders and Hispanic. While the Asian population has
prospered, incomes of African American households remained lower than any other
In low -and moderate- income (LMI) areas of the City there is a high priority for improvements to neighborhood based facilities such as recreation centers, childcare centers and playgrounds. Public facilities in these areas have declined and even closed, typically in areas where they are most needed. For the most part, planning processes found basic infrastructure to be sound.
Residents of low income (LI) neighborhoods place a high priority on streets and sidewalk improvements in their neighborhoods. About a third of the City's 1,027 miles of streets will need improvements in any one year. The City, for the most part, funds street repairs with general fund dollars, and much of the street work is in LI neighborhoods. Among the City's social problems are teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and increasing youth and violent crime rates. While unemployment is higher in the LMI areas, Chattanooga recognizes that to assist the residents of these areas and others with employment opportunities of lasting impact, the City needs to attract and retain companies that provide high paying jobs in sustainable businesses that will grow into the 21st Century.
Chattanooga's housing stock consists of 69,593 year-round units, according to the 1990 Census. This is 3,000 more units than counted in 1980. This community is typical of many mid-sized American cities in that population has migrated outward from the central city, leaving older housing which is often in poor repair, abandoned or in the hands of absentee landlords. Census data indicates approximately 18,000 local households have housing problems. Of these, 11,800 are very low or low income households. Particularly high needs are noted among LI and very low income (VLI) renters and owners, among the elderly and large related households.
There is a definite tightening of the rental market, resulting in housing shortages and increased cost burden for VLI renters, and among the elderly and large Households with incomes 51-80 % of the MFI have significantly fewer housing related problems. Households with incomes 80-95% of MFI experience fewer problems than any of the previous income groups. Severe cost burden is rare for both renters and owners among moderate income households.
The number of vacant units has also decreased by 3,000 (from 4,444 in 1980 to 7,417 in 1990). The majority of that increase (1,770) has been in rental units. Homeownership has decreased from 34,920 owner occupied units in 1980 to 33,715 owner occupied units in 1990. Owning a home in Chattanooga is very affordable, compared with other cities its size. Fifth-eight percent of the homes in the City are valued below $60,000, with a median value being $53,900. This means that 58 percent of the City's housing stock is affordable for LMI families. Because of the surplus of affordable housing stock, coupled with Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise homeownership and rehab programs, good quality housing (rental or ownership) is available to most Chattanooga citizens with incomes of below 50 % MFI and above. The most serious problem is for households with incomes less than this amount.
The MFI in Chattanooga is $34,400 for a family of four. Below 50 % MFI is $17,200 and under. A significant number of Chattanooga families fall well below $17,200 a year. The alternative for households with incomes below 50% MFI is rental in the private sector or public/assisted housing. Decent rental housing in the private sector is frequently not affordable for LI families, especially for larger families. New Section 8 recipients report that three bedroom units are extremely difficult to find and four bedroom units are hardly available at any price. Section 8, Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two bedroom apartment is $451 a month including utilities. Public housing, which was an option for smaller families a year ago, is not as available now. The Chattanooga Housing Authority occupancy reports show that the public housing occupancy rate over the most recent six month period is 95 to 98 percent. Section 8 assistance is slightly more available than it was a year ago since CHA received 50 additional vouchers.
Chattanooga has a well developed system of services for the homeless. Coordination of services is achieved through the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition and its various subcommittees. The Coalition sponsored, and the Chattanooga Office of Economic and Community Development funded, an indepth survey of the homeless in February of 1994. Because it interviewed within the shelters, the survey's numbers reflected the number of shelter beds available rather than the true number of homeless living in the Chattanooga area. Therefore in November 1994, information obtained in the survey was revised by contacting homeless persons and service providers. This raised estimates of homeless persons in Chattanooga at any given point in time from the 500 - 600 range to the 800 - 1,000 range. The trend is an increase in homelessness, particularly among single women with young children. Additional shelter space for single women and women with children, transitional housing, and permanent housing have been identified as priorities in the local Continuum of Care Plan.
The Chattanooga Housing Authority (CHA) owns and manages 3,714 units of public housing in the City. The occupancy rate is 98 percent. It provides rental subsidies for approximately 1,200 families under Section 8. The public housing inventory consists of large housing developments containing multi-family units, elderly highrises and scattered site units. Structurally, the units are sound throughout the CHA inventory. Major systems (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, access and infrastructure) are at, or approaching , obsolescence at four large sites originally occupied in the 1940s and 1950s. HVAC systems are in fair to poor condition in the three highrise complexes. The 1992 Physical Needs Assessment indicates $66,536,000 in estimate cost for renovation of all CHA units, infrastructure and environs. Per units costs range from $2,400 to $43,000, with the average being approximately $18,000. Since 1992, approximately $18,000,000 in renovations has been completed, or is under construction.
The waiting list for Section 8 assistance is currently (3/21/95) at 854. Of these approximately 80 meet one or more of the Federal preferences for admission. The Section 8 waiting list has been closed to new applicants, except for those meeting the Federal preferences, since July 1988. The waiting list for entrance into public housing is currently (3/23/95) at 462.The public housing waiting list has never been closed to new applicants, and remains open.
An inquiry was made to discover any public policies, especially those of the City, which affect the provision of affordable housing in Chattanooga. Types of policies considered include: tax policies affecting land and other property; land use controls; zoning ordinances; building codes; fees and charges; growth limits; policies that affect the return on residential (including supportive housing) investment; and excessive, exclusionary, discriminatory, or duplicative aspects of any policies, rules, and regulations, which could constitute barriers to affordability.
Based on meetings, research and discussions with applicable agencies, it was concluded that there are no State statutes, local ordinances, regulations, or administrative procedures or processes that have a significant effect on the production or maintenance of affordable housing in Chattanooga.
To address the barriers to fair housing, the City is currently conducting an impediment study, to be completed in June of 1995. The study will identify any barriers to fair housing and recommend initiatives to overcome the effects of conditions that limit fair housing choice. During the first phase of the study, five areas were reviewed as part of an analysis of barriers; dwelling rental and sales; housing brokerage services, financing assistance, administrative and housing construction requirements and lawsuit remedies.
There are two long range objectives: to increase community knowledge of fair housing standards and issues; and to decrease the likelihood that barriers exist to fair housing choice in the City.
The incidence of elevated blood lead levels among children in not precisely known. The only quantitative data available on the extent of elevated blood lead levels in Chattanooga are those collected by the local health department and aggregated by the State's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Of 874 children tested in 1994, seven (one percent) were found to have blood lead levels in the lowest "category of concern. No children were found to have blood lead levels in the highest category of concern. However, the extent and severity of lead poisoning problem in Chattanooga can be investigated according to housing stock. Based information provided by HUD for the 1993 CHAS process, which cross tabulated housing units by age, affordability, and tenure, a total of 10,860 LMI households lived in housing with such hazards.
Although the City is not a Housing Opportunities for Person With AIDS entitlement community, a City representative sits on the board of a multi-county consortium that determines priority needs of people with AIDS, and directs Ryan White Program funds to meet these needs. The City also administers Shelter Plus Care funds for clients of Chattanooga Cares, a local AIDS social service and advocacy group.
Chattanooga identified the following as high priority community development
needs identified: public facility needs (youth centers, neighborhood facilities
and parks and recreation facilities); infrastructure improvements (streets and
sidewalks); public services (youth services, employment training, crime
awareness and child care services); economic development (commercial-industrial
rehabilitation and other improvements and business development); codes
enforcement; and planning.
The City of Chattanooga realizes that the single most important factor in designing successful housing and community development programs is effective planning. Through such planning and citizen involvement, the City plans to pursue a neighborhood based strategy for maximum input. The City's vision for change is to: create safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities; provide adequate public facilities and infrastructure; and provide an effective social service network and high quality of life, primarily for LMI persons and neighborhood.
The City has identified the following basic housing priorities:
The nonhousing community development goals and priorities reflect an integrated approach to community needs and concerns, and result from extensive citizen involvement in planning processes. While strategies are sensitive to geographic distribution of resources, the City pursues a neighborhood based strategy for maximum impact. Besides effective planning, non-housing needs and priorities have been categorized into four areas: public facility improvements, public or social services, and economic development.
Chattanooga recognizes that activities that invest in and build on the existing strengths of individuals and communities are those most likely to bring about sustainable development and help to permanently reduce poverty. The antipoverty strategy includes activities which should help to stabilize households while support and self sufficiency mechanisms are put into place, and to provide positive economic choices to those in LMI families.
Chattanooga will use Federal resources, such as: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, Section 8, and other programs. Also, CHA reallocated funds will be used. In addition, the City may draw upon a number of State, local, private, and nonprofit resources. The City receives State funds from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency which are used to match HOME funds on LI homeowner rehabilitation activities.
The Office of Economic and Community Development is responsible for
Chattanooga's Consolidated Plan, in conjunction with its Community Development
Advisory Committee. It will coordinate all activities with the Chattanooga
Housing Authority and the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition. Chattanooga
Neighborhood Enterprise will be largely responsible for the City's affordable
For 1995 the City has $3,712,000 in entitlement grants and $275,000 in program income which will be used for some of the following projects:
While the City provides housing activities city-wide to LMI persons, overall activities, including selected housing activities, are largely based in targeted neighborhoods and public housing developments, for maximum impact and benefit to LMI persons.
The city of Chattanooga Office of Economic and Community Development (OECD) is the lead agency responsible for developing the Consolidated Plan. OECD will monitor and report on performance in order to determine if applications for funding are consistent with the Consolidated Plan. Other lead public institutions involved in implementing the plan include: Chattanooga Housing Authority, Chattanooga Homeless Coalition, and the Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.
The housing goals include: assisting 27 units through rental rehab or development; assisting 80 households with homebuyer assistance; providing 70 LMI households with housing rehabilitation; providing affordable housing assistance to 7 rental properties through CHDO set-aside program; and assisting in the modernization efforts of 11 public housing complexes.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).
Sandra Gober, Interim Director
Office of Economic and Community Development
City of Chattanooga; 100 East Eleventh Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
PH: (423) 757-5065
FAX: (423) 757-4851