published Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Chattanooga City Council targets affordable downtown housing

by Cliff Hightower

An affordable housing ordinance set forth by a coalition of community groups could see an expanding role.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd said Tuesday night she and others on the council would like to set up a task force that would look at affordable housing within the urban core of the city.

"There may be an ordinance done out of this, there may not be an ordinance," she said.

The largest concern is to make sure all those with interests are involved including organizations like Chattanooga Housing Authority, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, local developers and any other organization with interest, she said.

The initial housing ordinance came up after the Westside Community Association and Chattanooga Organized for Action started a petition drive for an initiative on affordable housing. The groups have since expanded to become the Coalition for Affordable Housing.

The Rev. Leroy Griffith, spokesman for the group, said Tuesday night he was happy with the idea of all those involved having meetings about housing.

"There is some hope that something will be passed and it's not going to be exactly as we drafted it," he said. "I think something will be passed."

Ladd said the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency is trying to put together a meeting plan for early November.

She said she hopes a master list of all available housing can be comprised. She said she also thinks it would be beneficial for all those involved with affordable housing to be talking to each other.

"I don't know if they know what each other is doing," she said.

She said she isn't sure what will come out of discussions, but it will be a long process. And it will relate to the community.

"I think it will be something specifically for Chattanooga," she said.

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