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A Nashville family created a nonprofit after grandmother was displaced. Now, they're building a neighborhood

Each residence will be one level, have a front porch, and have access to a community garden and resource center.
Renderings of three AWAKE affordable senior housing residences
Posted at 7:55 AM, May 28, 2024

Making money last can be difficult for older adults who live alone or on limited incomes.

According to a Metro Social Services Community Needs Evaluation in 2022, half of Nashville's older renters were paying more than a third of their income for housing.

Scripps News Nashville is getting the first look at an affordable senior living community invested in keeping prices down.

Last summer, AWAKE Nashville was granted $3 million from Metro's housing trust fund to build the cottage-like apartments.

The new renderings show each residence will have a front porch, they will each be one level, and there will be a community garden and resource center at the property too.

"I love the concept of front porches because I like to talk to people and I love to talk to my neighbors," said Norma Upshaw.

Upshaw, 82, knows what it's like to look for an affordable home on a fixed income. Two years ago, the great-grandmother was forced to move when her complex was sold to a developer. When she couldn't find a place in Nashville, she moved to Smyrna.

"It was very hard. At that time I did drive, but driving in traffic at my age is not good," Upshaw said.

The difficult experience led her family to create AWAKE Nashville, become advocates for affordable independent senior housing, and now try to increase inventory.

Working with MDHA will ensure that future renters will never pay more than 30% of their income on rent.

Construction could start in early 2025.

At this time, the organization isn't taking applications and there isn't a waiting list yet.

This story was originally published by Hannah McDonald at Scripps News Nashville.