By Brennen Finchum
Jason Adkins and the Castanea community have changed their plans a little since the project began in 2010.
Originally, the group planned on restoring an apartment complex located at 12 Garden Street in which they could live side by side with men and women transitioning out of homelessness and cycles of poverty.
Castanea wanted to invite people in to be a part of their community by living life alongside them, sharing in prayer and meals.
“We started out as an intentional community, and we’ve become more and more unintentional as we’ve gone along,” Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, said. “It feels like the right thing to do.”
Now, they are going to only be purchasing one half of the complex. There will be four condominiums in their half and each will go to a different family within the Castanea community.
They aren’t abandoning their dream of working with people who can’t afford to live in healthy housing, however.
In fact, Adkins believes that their ideas of turning the property into an urban garden and farm, along with loving their neighbors, are still possible even though they won’t own the whole complex.
This is because the other half is being bought by Urban Housing Solutions (UHS), an affordable housing provider in Nashville.
UHS received a grant from the state, specifically targeting environmentally friendly building to create affordable housing around Nashville, including Chestnut Hill.
The Castanea group hopes to sell one half of the apartment complex to UHS for $50,000 – $60,000, which will cover the final costs of their side.
“If it’s [sold for] anything less, it’s gonna jeopardize the project,” said Adkins.
The only thing that remains a question for Adkins is whether or not the actions of Castanea are going to actually be beneficial to the Chestnut Hill community.
“We could see the neighborhood actually become very racially and economically homogenous,” said Adkins. “As you fix up a place, you make it a target for investment.”
With UHS’s system, only candidates who qualify for affordable housing will be allowed to move into their units. This guarantees that people who really need the housing will be able to get it.
With the presence of UHS, the residents of the left half of 12 Garden Street will be unknown to Castanea until they meet.
Published with permission of TrevEchoes