Organized by ULI Atlanta, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Central Atlanta Progress, Center for Civic Innovation, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, a group of civic and business leaders has made progress on a comprehensive set of recommendations to address housing affordability.
More than 200 civic leaders representing 60+ public, private and non-profit organizations - including Midtown Alliance - have been involved in the HouseATL initiative, examining new strategies that can open more opportunities for low-income Atlantans. With a draft of recommended strategies released in September, the group awaits review from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms before building out an implementation plan. The mayor is scheduled to hold a press conference in mid-October.
Affordable Housing Recommendations Range from Land Use and Policy to Public Education and Investment
HouseATL’s desired outcome to address the complicated issue of affordability is specific and measurable: pool together a combined $1B of local funding ($500M each of public and private resources) to establish 20K homes in the next 10 years. Housing would include a mix of new housing and “preserved” legacy housing that remains affordable after incentives expire. But the task force's work yielded much more than just investment goals. View the task force’s recommendations here, which cover strategies for avoiding displacement, building capacity and public education, among other categories.
Where the Midtown Community Factors In
The challenge of creating and maintaining affordable housing is influenced by real estate market conditions, absence or presence of policies and many other factors. Of the 3,000 residential units under construction in the district today, none could be considered affordable. But there has been some important work emerging recently in Midtown Atlanta to address the challenge:
- Following extensive community input, Midtown Alliance worked with Atlanta City Council in late-2017 on updates to the Special Public Interest (SPI-16) zoning ordinance that directs how buildings are designed and built. Included in the zoning update are bonus incentives for developers to include affordable housing in their future projects, allowing for more density.
- Earlier this year, Midtown Alliance partnered with the Atlanta Regional Commission for a research project on affordable housing inventory located in proximity to the district. The analysis showed there are 100K owner-occupied homes and rental units considered “affordable” at 2/3 AMI within a 45-minute transit ride of the Arts Center MARTA station. This baseline and other permutations of the data help inform future transportation and land use strategies.
- The Midtown community has helped raise more than $10K this year by purchasing tickets to Midtown Alliance events that have benefited Midtown Assistance Center and Atlanta Children’s Shelter, two local nonprofits that provide assistance to low-income Atlantans experiencing crises that put their housing at risk.
Stay current on what’s happening with affordable housing in Atlanta.
Keep up with the HouseATL initiative, recommendations and next steps at https://houseatl.org/