“Atlanta is a great city with many wonderful people and an inspiring history. But it must become that shining city on a hill once again. Atlanta has to believe that its reach is beyond its current grasp.”

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Passage of Dickens’ Affordable Housing Ordinance

Yesterday, by a vote of 14-1, my colleagues on the Atlanta City Council passed a citywide Affordable Housing Ordinance that I authored as an important first step in providing affordable housing options for the people of Atlanta. We heard from both the community and from developers and we incorporated some of their great ideas. With passage of this ordinance, any multi-family residential property for lease that receives a grant, incentive, or subsidy in the City of Atlanta will be obligated to adhere to the housing set asides. That means that either 10% of the units at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and below or 15% of the units at 80% AMI and below meet the provisions of the ordinance. The greater collaboration on this effort provided options for even deeper affordability standards.

Mixed income communities have a proven track record of improving our community outcomes. We ensured in the ordinance that the affordable housing units would be similar in construction and appearance (e.g., square footage, type and brand of appliances, materials used for countertops, flooring, etc.) to the market rate units and would not be in isolated areas in the development, but interspersed among the market rate units.

I am committed to ensuring development without displacement and providing practical diverse housing options for our diverse community. I share the real concern of the Mayor and the Council about inequity and unbalanced growth in Atlanta. This collaborative effort included the Mayor and his office, Councilmembers, the Departments of Community Development & Planning and Law, Invest Atlanta, members of the nonprofit sector and for profit housing professionals and housing advocates. The insightful conversations that I had with the Development Authority of Fulton County and the Development Authority of DeKalb County also helped to shape this paper. Additional thanks to GA Stand-Up, Georgia Act, ANDP, Council for Quality Growth, Apartment Association, Progressive Redevelopment, APN, HDDC, AFSC, SILC of GA, Dragon Group, Selig Enterprises, Novare Group, ULI, the CIDs, and so many others that provided input at meetings.

This ordinance is a tangible step forward to help Atlantans today and into the future but this is just one step to creating real affordable housing in Atlanta. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with this Council and Mayor to provide realistic housing opportunities that help to improve the lives of all Atlantans.

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