Image via City of Atlanta.
Earlier this week, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city’s Housing Affordability Action Plan. The city says the plan will serve as a roadmap to increase housing accessibility for all Atlanta residents.
The 45-step plan lays the framework to significantly increase the number of Atlanta residents who can afford the costs of housing by addressing the problem on a variety of fronts, according to city materials. It will be a collaborative effort between non-profits, philanthropic organizations, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, private companies, residents, and community members
“Affordability is the foundation of any livable and thriving community,” Bottoms said in a statement. “Creating and preserving affordable housing is critical to the future of all those who call Atlanta home. For too many residents, their zip code determines their opportunities. This action plan is a vision for a more equitable city where each Atlantan has access to quality, and safe affordable housing. As our city continues to grow, we want to ensure neighborhoods in the north, south, east, and Westside remain welcoming and inclusive places for all.”
The 45 steps are part of 13 initiatives based on four strategic goals. They are, according to city materials:
Create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and increase overall supply
- Leverage vacant public land for housing
- Create and expand housing affordability tools
- Revise the zoning code
Invest $1 billion from public, private, and philanthropic sources in the production and preservation of affordable housing
- Maximize existing funding sources
- Develop new funding sources
- Increase philanthropic and private investment in affordable housing
Ensure equitable growth for all Atlantans and minimize displacement
- Prevent involuntary displacement
- Explore the expansion of property tax programs for the creation and preservation of affordable housing
- Expand awareness of and increase participation in housing affordability programs
Support innovation and streamline processes
- Establish a Housing Innovation Lab
- Continually improve building and zoning codes
- Improve our system for developing and delivering affordable housing
- Enhance community engagement
Several of these items might require additional legislation to achieve, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but Bottoms, in a press conference, said these measures would be drafted as necessary. The mayor’s plan is another step twoards fufilling one of her central campaign promises – to invest $1 billion in public funds to prevent the displacement of long-term residents and stem the tide of rising housing costs.
“How to tackle affordability and meaningfully address inequality are at the forefront for every major American city,” said Sarah Kirsch, Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute. “Although the problem is significant and accelerating in Atlanta, the data suggests we have a window in time to make a difference.
Kirsch says this is why the City’s Housing Affordability Action Plan is so important. “It comes at a critical time, creating a playbook for us to work together to achieve our goals of creating and preserving 20,000+ affordable homes by 2026,” she says. “The approach of unlocking existing resources, particularly publicly owned land, while lining up new policies and funding is ambitious but achievable.”
To learn more, visit Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Wesbsite, or click here to download the full plan.