New low-income housing raises questions by neighbors

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Health, Education, and Housing Board approved two new low-income housing projects to move forward today.

Anna Protano-Biggs, President and CEO of the AIM Center, said, “We’re extremely excited to be able to add to our existing stock with a project here in Chattanooga to add 60 permanent supportive housing units to the community.”

The AIM Center is sponsoring 60 new apartments at the corner of East Main Street and Orchard Knob Avenue.

This is on property donated by the city to the AIM Center after previously leasing it.

However, neighbors say there are issues with the property since the organization received the land in 2021.

One neighbor, Christopher Dahl, said, “With those lease agreements they were supposed to maintain the property, but we see it in a state of needing to be cleaned up real bad, and it’s almost been an issue with the community around here trashing it out.”

The building on 1815 East Main Street under the AIM Center’s plan would be torn down to create a three story complex.

Out of the 60 units, 15 of these would be reserved for those who are chronically homeless.

Protano-Biggs said, “We’ll use HUD definitions, we’re a housing first model. We have several of our properties already with HUD. Our focus will be able to assist some of the problems that the chronically homeless face in our community.”

HUD defines being chronically homeless in part, being a homeless individual with a disability and lives in a place not meant for human habitation, safe haven, or in an emergency shelter, and has been homeless for at least a year or four separate times in the past three years.

The AIM Center says they are looking to start construction later this year.

Protano-Biggs said, “We went through a long process with our neighbors in the area of Main Street, when we were looking at this land before the city donation, and really took into account what they would like to see in this project moving forward so we can support.”

Neighbors hope progress comes soon enough.

Dahl said, “My concern is that after the site is built, will it turn into a trashed out site again? I don’t mind them bringing in people who need housing, but I just hope the site will be maintained.”

There was also a second low-income housing project approved at 6402 Shallowford Road.

It is planned to have 96 units.

Mainst 005

The building on the future site of a low-income complex for those with mental health issues at 1815 E. Main Street

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