May 21, 2018 – The Tennessee Housing Development Agency will more than double its funding for Dismas House’s new Nashville home by tapping into a new source of federal funding for the first time.
THDA presented Dismas with a $700,536 grant from the National Housing Trust Fund to assist with the ongoing construction of a four-story, 72-unit residence on Charlotte Pike near Centennial Park. The property will provide temporary and permanent supportive housing to men who have been released from prison, including helping them reconnect with family, gain job and life skills, and become self-sufficient.
“We were thrilled to be there with a $500,000 check from our state’s Housing Trust Fund when Dismas House broke ground last July, and we’re doubly pleased to return with another $700,000 grant from the National Housing Trust Fund as construction continues,” said THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey.
Specifically, THDA’s new grant will help fund the construction of 12 apartment units on the fourth floor of the building, where residents who have completed Dismas’s transitional program can choose to continue living on site as mentors.
“We want to thank THDA for helping us expand our mission to serve even more people and provide them with the housing, job placement, case management, and other services they need to become self-supporting and productive members of our community,” said Dismas House CEO Gerald Brown.
Created and funded by Congress, the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) is a new program that must be used to create or protect housing for people living near or below the federal poverty line. As the administrator of the program at the state level, THDA received more than $2.7 million in NHTF funding to allocate within Tennessee.
Dismas is one of three organizations to receive a share of THDA’s first NHTF allocation. As its current property, Dismas House can house only 20 residents at any given time and must turn away nearly 95 percent of its applicants.
“Having a criminal record creates very real challenges when trying to meet your most basic needs like housing, and Dismas goes far beyond that,” said Perrey. “We are thrilled to make Dismas House part of our first-ever allocation of National Housing Trust Fund dollars.”
In addition to the two grants from THDA, construction of the new Dismas House of Nashville also received financing and funding from Metro Nashville’s Barnes Housing Fund, K Squared Consulting, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB). The $8.5 million project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.
Dismas opened its first home for former offenders in 1974 as an offshoot of the Vanderbilt Prison Project, with the goal of providing the support, socialization, and training needed for former offenders to become full and successful participants in society. For more information, visit Dismas.org.
For more information on the National Housing Trust Fund, visit www.THDA.org/business-partners/NHTF.
Photo (L to R): Dismas Executive Board Program Chair Patrick Thoebald, Dismas Executive Board Treasurer Bob Adams, THDA Middle Tennessee Liaison Denise McBride, Dismas CEO Gerald Brown, Dismas Executive Board Development Chair Joyce McDaniel