This month, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency is celebrating 85 years of creating quality affordable housing opportunities, supporting neighborhoods, strengthening communities and helping build a greater Nashville. The year was 1938 when the City Council enacted a resolution declaring a need for a housing authority. The Agency was incorporated under the Housing Authorities Law and its first meeting was held Nov. 9, 1938.

Today, MDHA houses approximately 30,000 Nashvillians, primarily through Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA). In 2023, MDHA was joined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman to break ground on 5th & Summer, the eighth new development that is part of the Cayce Transformation, which includes 50 subsidized units for current Cayce Place residents.

Courtesy of Gresham Smith

MDHA plans to break ground on the next new development that is part of the Cayce Transformation before the end of the year. MDHA’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes program also helped create and preserve more than 1,000 affordable units with approval from Metro Council this year.

In addition, for the first time in its 85-year history, MDHA established a Resident Services Department this year to better serve MDHA residents. MDHA staff in this newly formed department will provide services and resources to residents and create and strengthen relationships with partners. Though this department, MDHA residents can enroll in programs such as the Family Self-Sufficiency program, which allows residents to initiate a goal-oriented plan and establish an interest-bearing escrow account, and the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides discounts on broadband service and connected devices to qualifying households. This program is made possible through grant funding by the Federal Communications Commission. Many of the programs offered through this department are made possible through various partnerships, as well as funding from state and federal resources and grants.

MDHA is also continuing to lead the implementation of the Second Avenue Rebuild on behalf of the city in the aftermath of the blast on Christmas Day 2020. The latest Second Avenue renderings were finalized in spring 2023, following various community engagement events. Shortly thereafter, construction on the north block began between Church Street and Union Street with a projected schedule of 12 months. In 2023, all work for the stormwater tie-in was completed, connecting a new storm drainage pipe in the north block to an existing pipe on Church Street. New pipe and storm structures were also installed and backfilled between Union Street and Bank Street. The Nashville Electric Service (NES) vault work was also completed for the north block.

The endeavors pursued in MDHA’s 85th year were under the direction of Dr. Troy D. White, the Agency’s sixth executive director. Dr. White assumed the role of executive director in 2021. As MDHA celebrates 85 years this month, much has changed in Nashville – but the Agency’s mission remains constant, and worth celebrating, in 2023.