(Originally appeared on The Tennessean)
Literature’s most recent Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan once said:
“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’”
On Aug. 14 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy the Nashville Junior Chamber is bringing together Nashville’s best and brightest young minds at Pitch Nashville 2017 to address Music City’s most pressing concern: finding an affordable place to live.
Why? Because Nashville and its young people are in crisis.
The cost of housing has exploded in recent years, leaving even employed Nashvillians struggling to cover basic necessities in a city where artists could once survive by playing music on the street.
For those looking to buy, the most recent housing numbers showed a full 13 percent increase in the median price of a single family home from 2016 to 2017, shattering past records. For those required to rent, what cost a young family or entrepreneur only a few hundred dollars a month now often exceeds four figures.
Mayor Megan Barry’s “Housing Nashville Report” estimates a need for 31,000 units of affordable housing by 2025, while close to 70 percent of low-income earners are cost-burdened, meaning they spend over 30 percent of their yearly income on housing.
The potential state-level deregulation of short term rental properties and a growing number of redevelopments of formerly affordable apartment complexes are set to stress the housing market even further.
But you’ve heard this all before. That’s why we wanted to create an event that would focus on solutions.
The idea behind Pitch Nashville is simple: Connect ambitious young innovators with the business and community leaders that can make their idea a reality. All with an eye towards improving the place we all call home.
Somewhere between a TED Talk and Shark Tank, these visionary leaders will make an eight-minute presentation in front of a live audience and an expert panel of judges on how to solve a pressing community issue in Nashville. The winning idea made by an individual or a team will receive the prize of access to dozens of industry leaders and activists.