Affordable Housing Trust Fund

General Description

Supports the production, preservation, and rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing for low-income households, and programs to enhance rental opportunities for very low-income households within the City of Knoxville.

General Eligibility

  • Applicants may be nonprofit or governmental entities engaged in affordable housing activities within the City of Knoxville.
  • Awards are NOT made to individuals.
  • Applicant organizations must be operated and organized so as to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, sexual orientation, age, disability, or covered veteran status as identified in East Tennessee Foundation’s Diversity and Non-Discrimination Policy.

Eiligible Activities

The Fund is designed to accept applications for a wide variety of projects that will result in increased housing opportunities for low-income households within the City of Knoxville. Fundable activities are grouped into two categories and include but are not limited to:

New Construction and Major Rehabs
  • New construction or major rehabilitation of single family homes
  • Condominium or cooperative housing development
  • Pre-development expenses including architectural, engineering, and consulting services
  • Interest rate write-down assistance
Stabilization, Education, and Assistance Programs
  • Minor home repair (including roof repair/replacement)
  • Homeownership counseling
  • Homebuyer education
  • Foreclosure prevention
Eligible Forms of Assistance from the Fund

Funds may be awarded in the form of secured loans or lines of credit, forgivable loans, grants or any combination thereof, though renter-occupied housing programs are limited to grant funding only at this time.

Definition of Low-Income Households

“Low income” for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is defined as “qualified persons or families who lack the amount of income which is necessary, as determined by the Fund Advisory Board, to enable them without low interest financial assistance, to live in decent, safe and affordable dwellings without overcrowding.” The Advisory Board has adopted the income guidelines of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Program as the relevant income limits for projects funded by the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Rental programs must serve client households meeting the definition of “very low-income” or 50% area median income (AMI). Homeownership programs must serve residents who meet the “low-income” or 80% AMI threshold for Knoxville. The HUD income limits are updated from time to time. The most current limits can be found here:

Grant Amounts and Terms

Awards are generally for one-year terms, but other terms will be considered if needed for the success of the project.

Areas of Focus

Selection of projects for funding will be competitive.  Among the factors considered will be how well the proposed project meets the following standards:

  • It clearly meets an unmet need in the community’s affordable housing system.
  • It leads to or makes homeownership opportunities more available to, or improves rental housing stock for low-income households.
  • It documents the applicant’s managerial, technical, and financial ability to bring the project to a successful conclusion.
  • It uses Trust Fund monies to leverage the maximum amount of other resources.
  • It keeps production costs to a minimum.
  • It is innovative and makes creative uses of resources.
  • It incorporates the neighborhood or community in project planning and contributes to neighborhood livability.
  • It designs long-term affordability, quality, and ease of maintenance into each housing opportunity.
  • It conforms to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings if developing within a historic district or to standards of an approved historic overlay district.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted via the Foundation’s online grants management system. We encourage applicants to read instructions about applying online before connecting to the online application.


Applications to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund are reviewed by the Advisory Board at their annual fall meeting. To be considered, applications are due by August 1st, respectively. Awards are subject to availability of funds.

Additional Information

Please direct questions to:
Traci Sisson, Fundholder Services Officer
East Tennessee Foundation
520 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 1101
Knoxville, TN 37902
Telephone: (865) 524-1223 or toll-free (877) 534-1223