By John Ray Clemmons
Nashville Mayoral Candidate
Nashville is experiencing unprecedented growth. While our city is bending over backward to accommodate new companies and residents, those who have lived here their entire lives have been left behind. Our seniors are being forced out of the city as developers take advantage of them, and Metro makes cuts to food programs. WeGo and access rides have seen cuts as well, with overall mobility in our city severely crippled by price increases, budget cuts, and neglect. Everyone understands the importance of investing in programs that directly affect the lives of our residents, yet seniors are frequently left out of this equation. If we work together, we can create a city that allows our senior citizens to both live and thrive in Nashville.
As I’ve traveled around the city listening to residents, one of the most concerning things I’ve heard is how developers target seniors. Many long-time residents are harassed into selling their home for less than it’s worth, and then face long-term displacement because they can’t afford to buy another home elsewhere. We need to stop the mistreatment of long-time residents and end the abuse of seniors by developers. As mayor, I will work with the Metro Council to institute protections for seniors and long-time homeowners, and I will ensure that developers treat homeowners fairly.
Unfortunately, seniors who do remain in their homes face affordability issues. As the state representative for West Nashville, I have worked to assist seniors in paying their property taxes, specifically by lowering the qualification threshold for tax relief in Davidson County. As mayor, I will continue this work and strive to reduce the universal cap to reflect the common income that our residents earn.
We must also create more affordable housing to address the needs of our residents. No neighborhood in Nashville should be off-limits to anyone, and the Mayor’s Office should work to promote equity in the housing industry. As mayor, I will create a dedicated revenue stream for the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, increasing the current annual investment of $10 million to $50 million, within the next five years. I will also establish a land bank to increase transparency in the use of Metro property, prioritizing any surplus property for affordable housing. These changes will help to dramatically increase our city’s housing stock and make it so that all residents can call Nashville home.
But our seniors are also facing issues when it comes to basic human needs. During a meeting at Dandridge Towers, I was horrified to learn about the budget cuts for our adult food program. This year, the current administration cut over $75,000 from this program, negatively impacting residents across the county.
Nashville must protect all residents, including those who have been here the longest. Our senior population faces frequent abuse from a systematic ignorance of their needs. It is dependent on all Nashvillians to fight for change, and ensure that every senior citizen has access to the resources necessary to maintain a high quality of life.
State Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-55) is running for mayor of Nashville, fighting to ensure equity, create opportunity, and demand justice for all residents. Visit https://johnrayclemmons.com/seniors/ to read his full plan for improving the quality of life of Nashville’s senior citizens.