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Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP) on Monday announced plans to launch Closing the Gap: 2K BY 2025, a project to develop or preserve 2,000 affordable apartment units and single-family homes by 2025. “The organization’s project is part of its commitment to closing the homeownership and wealth gap, as well as addressing rental affordability in metro Atlanta,” according to a press release.
Closing the Gap calls for the development or renovation of 250 single-family rental homes, 500 single-family homes targeted for homeownership, and the creation or preservation of 1,250 multifamily apartment units throughout metro Atlanta, with a priority in “neighborhoods most at risk of future displacement of low-income residents.”
“[ANDP’s] commitment to dramatically increase its scale and impact is a strong complement to the City’s One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in the release. “Thank you to ANDP for partnering with the City to meet the growing housing affordability needs of Atlanta residents.”
In addition to its focus on the City of Atlanta, ANDP will also deploy resources in South DeKalb and other at-risk communities in the region, and ANDP’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved the Closing the Gap plan.
“Research has shown that as many as one-in-two Atlanta households and one-in-three regional households are housing cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of monthly household income for housing expenses,” James L. Rhoden III, Managing Principal of The Macallan Group and ANDP’s Board Chair, said in the release. “The need is clear and the time for action is now. The neighborhoods and families we serve across the Metro Atlanta region have a critical need for more quality affordable homes; including opportunities for homeownership. Our innovative plan utilizes ANDP’s decades of proven experience and strong development partnerships to achieve significant scale.”
A central component of ANDP’s plan is a continued focus on homeownership. Metro Atlanta’s decline in Black homeownership reflects national trends, according to the release. Black homeownership is more than 32 percent lower than that of Whites according to U.S. Census data and is lower today than it was when the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. “The decline in Black homeownership contributes more than any other issue to the growing wealth gap between Blacks and Whites, as housing is the primary asset of middle-income families,” according to ANDP. “The median wealth of White households ($171,000) is ten times higher than that of Black households ($17,000).
“Homeownership is proven to increase educational achievement, healthy outcomes, and civic participation. More importantly, it is the single-largest driver of economic opportunity and generational wealth, especially in low- and moderate-income families,” John O’Callaghan, ANDP president and CEO, said in the release. In an ANDP study of its 2009 to 2018 homebuyers, those remaining in their homes at least five years saw an average wealth gain from homeownership of $88,797.
ANDP’s 2,000 unit plan has an estimated development price tag of $438 million. Through access to low-cost enterprise capital, competitive Federal program dollars, local and state resources, social impact investing and other bank debt sources, 82 percent of the funds have been identified. More than $46 million to be leveraged for the project are from Federal funds not otherwise accessed in Atlanta. The organization plans to initiate a philanthropic campaign to generate the balance of the funds needed.
“Every family deserves access to safe, quality, affordable housing, O’Callaghan said. “We know homeownership, in particular, is foundational for families. Now is the time to act. ANDP’s strength is in the dozens of risk sharing, mission-driven partnerships we have with other nonprofits and private sector developers and contractors. It is an ambitious, but achievable goal At the end of the day, it’s about what you are willing to risk to meet this incredible need.”