Atlanta affordable housing initiative scores $200 million in public-private partnership
Atlanta’s affordable housing crisis is getting a $200 million infusion of funding – marking the most significant commitment of its kind to provide more people with safe places to live.
The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta is donating $100 million thanks to both the Robert W. Woodruff and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundations.
The city plans to add a $100 million housing bond that still needs approval from council members.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says the combined $200 million will help secure thousands of mixed-income housing units.
The goal is for areas where “the school principal, the school teacher and the school bus driver can live in the same community,” said Dickens. “Some (housing) will be 20% affordable. Some will be 50% affordable. If there’s senior housing, it could be 100% affordable. We don’t want to do concentrated low-income.”
Dickens has “pledged to build or preserve 20,000 units of affordable housing over the next eight years.”
City leaders have engaged philanthropic organizations and private companies to help improve housing stability.
“We know that housing instability leads to instability in every aspect in your life. Where you live affects how you work. How much you pay toward rent affects how much other money you have available for other things that matter: food, healthcare, transportation,” said Frank Fernandez, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta.
Tonette Freeman knows housing insecurity. She spent 16 years homeless until the city of Atlanta stepped in to help. They moved her to an apartment near Adair Park in 2001.
During a press conference with the mayor, Freeman cried when describing how she lost her husband to COVID-19 and felt hopeless until city housing officials helped her with a permanent place to live.
“Every day I leave, I turn around and look at the building because I know I got a home,” she said.
The city plans to use the $200 million to “expedite affordable housing on publicly owned land” and preserve and re-purpose existing facilities into homes.
The Community Foundation hopes to raise another $100 million toward the effort. Fernandez said they already have corporate commitments of about $30 million.