Nashville residents say they are increasingly struggling to afford a home as an influx of out-of-state buyers drive real estate prices up, leaving many with no where to go.

Rates of chronic homelessness in the Tennessee capital have soared 77 percent this year, according to the city’s official stats.

There were 1,525 people experiencing chronic homelessness – where someone has been homeless for over a year and has a mental health condition or disability – in the city last month, compared to 863 in the same period a year prior.


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Local nonprofit founder, Heather Young, says the increase is driven by a sharp rise in the cost of living.

‘There is not a way for these people to get up and running. They can’t get affordable housing,’ she said.

Nashville has seen a population boom over the last few years with wealthy out-of-towners flocking to take advantage of cheaper real estate and lower taxes – pricing out locals.

In just 23 years, the metro Nashville region has gone from 1.3 million residents to 2.1million, per the US Census Bureau, increasing the value of property and the cost of living.

Between 2021 and 2022 alone, more than 22,500 former Californians moved to Tennessee, according to US Census migration data.

Young told WKRN that the homelessness problem is driven by a sharp increase in the cost of living.

She added: ‘I’ve seen an increase in women and children. I’ve seen an increase in mental health that needs to be addressed.’

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Nashville area soared $200 in the past year to $1,442 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Young said without more affordable housing, the issue will worsen: ‘I guarantee you it’s going to double from where we are now.’

Prices have been driven up by an influx of people and companies moving to the state.

In the last few years, major corporations like Oracle have chosen to move their headquarters to Tennessee, bringing their workers with them.

Attracted by lower property costs and taxes, Amazon also announced it would set up major operations in downtown Nashville.

The median home sale price in Nashville at the end of February was $414,012, compared to $290,983 five years prior.

Remacia Smith, who grew up in Nashville, told The Wall Street Journal she recently was forced to move to the suburbs with her five children.

‘It almost doesn’t look like Nashville anymore,’ she said. ‘Whew Lord, I wish people would stop moving here.’

Meanwhile lifelong resident John Michael Morgan, for his part, told the outlet he is concerned about Nashville keeping its essence.

‘Nashville’s always been a big town that felt like a small town,’ said Morgan. ‘Now we’re a big town that feels like a big town.’

The Metro Council pledged $50 million in American Rescue Plan funding to fight homelessness in 2022, but the problem has not gone away.

Open Table Nashville advocacy and outreach specialist India Pungarcher told WKRN: ‘If a one-time $50 million investment was going to end homelessness in Nashville, you know, homelessness wouldn’t exist anymore, right?

‘We need hundreds of millions of dollars in order to, you know, even just make a dent in homelessness here in Nashville.’