ATLANTA — Issuing a challenge to break down barriers to the development and preservation of affordable homes in Atlanta, Mayor Andre Dickens convened the city’s Affordable Housing Strike Force made up of leaders from across government and the nonprofit sector.
Dickens also announced the city will invest $58.7 million in the development of housing, preventing evictions and addressing homelessness.
“Housing is foundational to a community’s health, and simply put, Atlanta doesn’t have enough of it,” Dickens said. “Since day one of my Administration, the development and preservation of affordable housing has been at the top of our agenda, and the steps we are taking today will rocket us forward. Atlantans deserve access to high-quality homes that they can afford.”
According to Atlanta officials, the mayor’s commitment of $58.7 million toward housing is one of the city’s largest-ever single-year housing investments. The Dickens administration is in the process of deploying those funds toward affordable housing and homelessness initiatives. That includes:
- $22.5 million in emergency rental assistance, newly secured from the Federal government by the Dickens Administration;
- $9.1 million to support the relocation of residents from the Forest Cove Apartments, sourced through American Rescue Plan funds redesignated by the Mayor;
- $6.2 million in homelessness assistance, sourced through American Rescue Plan funds redesignated by the Mayor; and
- $20.9 million activated to develop affordable housing through the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The Affordable Housing Strike Force will collaborate across their respective organizations to prioritize development projects based on shared goals, jointly identify the needs and obstacles to development, and coordinate planning, funding and infrastructure investments across agencies. The group will also partner with nonprofit, faith-based and private developers to achieve its goals.
Today, Dickens convened the following agency heads, each of whom is committing staff to serve as part of the Strike Force:
- City of Atlanta COO Lisa Gordon
- City of Atlanta Senior Advisor Courtney English
- MARTA Interim General Manager & CEO Collie Greenwood
- Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring
- Atlanta BeltLine President & CEO Clyde Higgs
- Atlanta Housing President & CEO Eugene Jones, Jr.
- Invest Atlanta President & CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich
- Metro Atlanta Land Bank Executive Director Christopher Norman
- Atlanta Land Trust Executive Director Amanda Rhein
“I am particularly thankful that our public sector counterparts including Atlanta Public Schools and MARTA are joining us in this effort,” Mayor Dickens added. “Housing, education and transportation are inextricably linked for families, so we need to approach this work in a holistic and coordinated manner. We will be looking at the potential of redeveloping vacant school buildings and ensuring that transit will be part of every development opportunity at the outset.”
Together, the group will identify viable public land, secure funding, and expedite regulatory processes for development of affordable housing. Work has already begun to conduct a market valuation study that will identify sites that are ready to be built in the short term as well as other large-scale project sites with transformational potential.
The funding and Affordable Housing Strike Force are the latest steps the Dickens has taken to make significant investments in housing.
Last week, Dickens announced four new appointments to the Atlanta Housing Board of Commissioners. The Dickens administration has also led or supported additional investments in housing, including: securing $2.5 million from JP Morgan Chase to the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partners to support affordable homeownership for people of color; securing $1.3 million from Wells Fargo in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners to fund at least one thousand units in partnership with faith-based organizations; and financing for Invest Atlanta to support nearly 400 units.
Earlier this week, Dickens helped to reopen the 542-unit Villages of East Lake mixed-income community. This year, the Mayor has also supported the development of the 250-unit Skyline Apartments in Peoplestown, 116 units in Reynoldstown, nearly 500 units near the Greenbriar Mall, 30 units at Unity Place and 30 units at Covenant House.