LISTEN: The rising cost of Atlanta housing is making it hard for long-term residents to stay in their neighborhoods. GPB’s Amanda Andrews reports on some new solutions to address the shortage of affordable housing.

Stock photo eviction notice

A DeKalb County judge extended an eviction moratorium in the county of 760,000 after President Joe Biden and Congress let the federal ban on displacing delinquent renters expire.

Credit: Stock image/Georgia Recorder

The People’s Community Land Trust is the latest organization working to keep residents in their homes as rising prices push many people out of Atlanta. The project is a collaboration between three economic and housing justice organizations: The Guild, Housing Justice League, and Atlanta Economic Justice Program.

The trust’s first accomplishment was to relocate a longtime community member who lost her home.

The Guild Ecosystem Director Nikisha Iyengar helped develop the land trust. She said the key difference in this project from other, similar efforts is in whom it serves.

“We're focused on folks who are on the front lines of displacement and or being evicted right now to have a permanent home base,” Iyengar said. “Versus sort of having an open market for buyers who may be interested in the land trust.”

The idea for a land trust first formed during the early days of the pandemic. The Housing Justice League set up a hotline for people experiencing housing struggles as a result of COVID-19 to be connected with resources.

Executive Director Alison Johnson said the affordable housing crisis hasn’t gone away since then.

“What we were seeing prior pandemic, it's a bit worse because, you know, we don't have any really strong policies that really protect folks in our community,” Johnson said. “So our communities are overdeveloped with not enough housing that really addresses the needs for those who are earning lower than 50% of the AMI.”

The area median income, or AMI, is about $40,000 a year for a family of four.

The land trust has acquired one home in Atlanta’s Peoplestown neighborhood and another site, where the organization plans to build permanent affordable housing within the next two years.