Atlanta Council Adopts Legislation Creating a New Affordable Housing Fund

While adopting new codes to incentivize affordable housing was permanently put on hold, the Council amended the City Charter to fund affordable housing preservation and construction through City funds.
Source: City of Atlanta
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Over the past few years, City leaders have initiated several attempts to address the burgeoning affordable housing crisis in Atlanta. However, as the cost of housing, both rental and owner-occupied, continues to rise in the area, community leaders have identified that the City has an obligation to support those community members impacted and ensure racial and socioeconomic diversity across the City.

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During the December 6th, 2021, Atlanta City Council meeting, legislation No 21-0-0777 was adopted which amends the City Charter and establishes an annual fund for affordable housing initiatives in the City by creating the “Building the Beloved Community Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The amendment adds a new paragraph to Subsection (b) of Section 6-315 to direct appropriate levels of funding to affordable housing initiatives by setting aside two percent of the City’s general fund budget to be transferred to the new housing trust fund.  There are built-in exceptions to the annual funding levels which specifies that if the Projected Unrestricted Fund Balance of the General Fund is below 20% of the Proposed Revenue Budget or if the Proposed Revenue Budget, from all sources, are below the prior year’s Inflation Adjusted Funded Budget based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area, funds would not be directed to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for that year.

Based on City documents, as late as June 2019, Mayor Bottoms published the One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan, which was built around the goals of creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 as well as investing $1 billion from public, private, and philanthropic organizations to assist in the affordable housing goals. Additionally, in 2018 similar initiatives were included in the final recommendations presented by HouseATL, a comprehensive group of community stakeholders who developed strategies to address Atlanta’s affordability issues.

However, contrary to the efforts to improve affordability and as reported by What Now Atlanta last month, efforts to create new regulatory rules through the adoption of an ordinance intended to increase affordability options in Atlanta were halted by the Zoning Committee on November 29th. As a result, the Atlanta City Council permanently filed the proposed legislation during their meeting on December 6th. The failed ordinance included policies recommended in Atlanta City Design Housing to create more affordable housing, lower housing production costs, reduce car dependency, and create more housing options at various house points throughout the City.

Dr. Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau, DPA AICP, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor, and consulting urban planner. She has over 25 years of community and economic development experience in local government. When she’s not working, you can find her exploring local craft breweries, walking her two beagles, or traveling to visit her adult children living in New York City and Minneapolis.

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