Target Service Population
Who We Serve
Martha O’Bryan Center serves over 12,000 children, youth and adults every year, from every residential zip code in Nashville. Our headquarters are located in the heart of Cayce Place, a public housing campus in East Nashville, less than a mile from downtown Nashville. Cayce residents are cut off from the rest of the city by Interstate 24, the Cumberland River, and a poverty of choices. Cayce is comprised of 900 rental units with 2,000 residents, crowded on 63 acres. 90% of the population is African American; 90% of households are headed by a single woman; 59% of residents are under the age of 18. The average household income for families in Cayce Place is $7,494, 70% below the national poverty threshold for a family of 4 ($24,250). 30.3% of adults are unemployed, five times as high as the county average of 5.7%.
Cayce Place stands at a pivotal moment in its long and storied history. After four years of intensive planning, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) has begun implementation of its Envision Cayce project to scale the community’s 900 public housing units to 2,700 mixed-income units (1,100 low-income, 400 workforce, and 1,200 full-market). This kind of project has never been attempted—not at this scale, with no resident displaced and a high-performing school and amenities complex at its center. Though the community will be visually transformed—new housing, new parks, new amenities, and a new school—the project will only truly succeed if driven by community input and feedback. Knowing this, we have partnered with MDHA to facilitate 50+ community meetings, listening to residents’ ideas, giving them decision-making agency in the transformation process. We know that public housing redevelopment doesn’t often benefit the community’s most under-resourced families, and thus, our goal is to lift voices of original residents, creating a truly integrated mixed-income neighborhood. We also know that change doesn’t happen when families move to new buildings; it happens when those building are complemented with a vast array of opportunities to pursue educational excellence, economic mobility, and family stability.