Mayoral Candidate Forum on Housing Issues
The next mayor of Atlanta will inherit an increasingly untenable situation – housing affordability in the city. A rebounding housing market, booming luxury rental development, gentrifying neighborhoods, negative equity, and a vanishing supply of affordable housing all combine to paint a serious picture for low- and moderate-income families.
Where do Atlanta mayoral candidates stand on affordable housing issues? How do issues of housing, transit-oriented development, and homelessness rank among other competing concerns? Atlanta residents will have an opportunity to get answers to these questions and hear directly from the candidates next month.
The City for All Housing Coalition and the Transformation Alliance are sponsoring a forum for City of Atlanta mayoral candidates on Wednesday, September 6, from 9:30 to 11:45 am at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
The forum will focus on the City’s affordable housing crisis across the spectrum of needs — from Atlanta’s homeless population to workforce housing. It will take place at the regularly scheduled Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, which is held quarterly at St. Luke’s.
Prior to the September 6 event, candidates will also be responding to a survey from the City for All Housing Coalition. Among other questions, the City for All candidate survey seeks to understand where the candidates stand on some of its key platform issues:
- PRODUCTION: Commit a minimum of $250 million in public revenue for a Housing Trust Fund by 2021.
- Pursue varied methods to capitalize the Fund, specifically with annual budget allocations and through a dedicated source of annual revenue.
- Prioritize investment to meet the greatest need: Currently households with incomes of $34,000 or less (50% or less of AMI).
- Maximize opportunities to leverage resources, partner with developers of market-rate housing and strengthen the capacity of non-profit affordable housing developers.
- INCLUSION: Increase access to affordable housing throughout Atlanta with city-wide, mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). Utilize IZ to incentivize development of homes affordable to households with incomes below $54,000 (80% AMI). Allow use of in-lieu payments to support affordability below $40,500 (60% AMI).
- PRESERVATION: Achieve long term or permanent affordability to protect public investment in housing. Employ Community Land Trusts and other tools to preserve and maintain new and existing affordable homes, especially for households with incomes below $34,000 (50% AMI and below).
- PROTECTION: Mitigate involuntary displacement of existing residents from rapidly changing neighborhoods. Use legislation, financing and support services – like homestead exemptions, tax abatement/deferral, rehab/maintenance loans and eviction law reform – to help people remain in improving communities.
“Action is needed,” ANDP president and CEO John O’Callaghan recently shared with the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “The great news is, in the last year, the current mayor has approved over $125 million of new funding for affordable housing. The market isn’t doing it on its own. An additional $250 million will be needed.”
The Atlanta Regional Housing Forum is free to attend but registration is required. Attendees are also asked to bring nonperishable food items for donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Details and registration at www.AtlantaRegionalHousing.org.
Learn more about candidates for mayor, council president, council and school board at www.voteatl.org – a comprehensive website from the Center for Civic Innovation in partnership with Our Future Atlanta.