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Tennessee Community Assistance Corporation has resources for low-income homeowners

Tennessee gets around $16 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development each year for housing, and officials said a lot goes unused.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It is no secret that there's an affordable housing shortage across the state. But Tennessee's Community Assistance Corporation housing director said there is help for homebuyers.

Retha Patton, the housing program director for Tennessee's Community Assistance Corporation, said more people in Tennessee could get housing assistance. She said the biggest problem is that people may not know how to get the help they need.

“There are lots of reasons, and that's because we're not on TV talking about them," said Patton. 

Tennessee gets around $16 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development each year for housing, and Patton said a lot of that money can go unused. 

She also said low-income families can become homeowners through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's housing development programs.

“You can get a federal mortgage through this federal program. It's a 100% mortgage, no down payments. It's an awesome asset for a low-income borrower,” said Patton. 

Data from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition shows about 16% of people in Tennessee earn a salary that is considered low-income. 

Patton says if you qualify, living somewhere like downtown may not be the best choice. Prices in the downtown Knoxville area have risen dramatically, pushing many homes there out of reach for most first-time homebuyers.

But there could be options in surrounding counties, and even in Knox County's less urban areas. People looking for a home may need to shop around, and experts said they could end up bidding on more than three homes before finding a place to live.

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