Atlanta mayor calls for $100 million in bonds to boost affordable housing stock
By Sean Keenan
On Monday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for another $100 million investment aimed at boosting the city’s affordable housing stock.
In an administrative order, Bottoms asked the city’s chief operations officer and its chief financial officer to team up to “expediently prepare legislation for the issuance of $100 million of Housing Opportunity Bonds for the city.”
“This $100 million bond will enable us to thoughtfully provide dignified homes to our neighbors experiencing homelessness, strategically acquire land for affordable developments, and develop and preserve rental affordable housing opportunities for residents across the city — including families with lower incomes who often are left out,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told SaportaReport in a statement.
The investment is also expected to provide down payment assistance for prospective homeowners, as well as help seniors and low-income Atlantans renovate and remain in their homes.
Bottoms’ order asks Atlanta’s CFO to assess the city’s finances to determine how the general fund could be tapped to support the bond issuance, the release says.
The move also calls on city officials to identify new local funding sources for affordable housing initiatives. That’s an area where the city is falling short, Georgia State University urban studies professor Dan Immergluck has told SaportaReport in the past.
Earlier this month, when the city unveiled its new Atlanta Housing Affordability Tracker, Immergluck pointed out that, while the city is touting more than $250 million in recent investments for affordable housing, “the site actually demonstrates that the City has not made any progress towards a pledge of new City funds for affordable housing since the beginning of 2018.”
The ultimate goal, which was laid out during Bottoms’ 2017 mayoral campaign, is to invest $1 billion toward producing and preserving affordable housing by 2026.
These new bonds would move that needle passed the one-third mark toward that goal, although the particulars of the investment are not yet clear.
The mayor’s office did not respond to questions regarding how many units the $100 million could produce or protect, nor did officials address the potential price points (relative to the area median income) of those units.
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