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Atlanta to sell $25.3 million in bonds Thursday to fund housing for the homeless

Hurt Park, napping

Folks who appear to be homeless nap in Hurt Park, near Grady Memorial Hospital, in the afternoons. File/Credit: David Pendered

By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is closing out his term of office as the city provides its share of funding to expands its effort to address homelessness. The city on Thursday is slated to sell $25.3 million worth of bonds that received a top credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, according to a rating action.

Hurt Park, napping

Folks who appear to be homeless nap in Hurt Park, near Grady Memorial Hospital, in the afternoons. File/Credit: David Pendered

The money is to be matched with a $25 million philanthropic donation from the United Way of Greater Atlanta. These funds are expected to leverage an additional $66 million from the state and federal governments.

The money will be used for a number of purposes, according to the rating action Moody’s issued Sept. 6. The uses include buying or leasing, and rehabilitating, one or more homeless shelters. Uses include buying, building or rehabilitating various housing developments.

The three-year plan for spending the money calls for creating the following array of housing options, according to a July 17 statement from Reed’s office:

  • “Place 500 chronically homeless individuals in permanent supportive housing;
  • “Secure housing for 300 homeless families who will be rapidly re-housed in permanent units;
  • “Prevent 100 families from entering homelessness;
  • “Create 264 new emergency shelter beds; and
  • “Create 254 new housing interventions for homeless youth.”

“We now have the opportunity to end chronic homelessness in our city, and ensure that all women, men and children – regardless of circumstance – have the chance to live stable, meaningful lives and participate fully in their communities,” Reed said after the Atlanta City Council voted to support the issuance of housing opportunity bonds.

“I am thankful for the support of the Atlanta City Council and our partners at the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and I look forward to continued partnership as we execute this vital plan,” Reed said.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Reed announced the public-private partnership in his final State of the City address, which he delivered in February.

Moody’s analysts rated the bonds Aa1. The “Aa” category is the second-from-the-top on the rating scale used by Moody’s. The “1” indicates the rating is at the upper end of credit spectrum in the “Aa” category.

Moody’s also retained the Aa1 rating on the city’s outstanding general obligation bonds, which Moody’s said total $480 million.

In explaining their rational, Moody’s analysts observed:

  • “The Aa1 rating reflects the city’s healthy and stable financial position, which is supported by formalized fiscal policies and practices. The Aa1 rating also reflects the city’s large, diverse tax base that serves as a hub for trade and transportation in the southeast region and has improved following the recession. Lastly, the rating also incorporates the city’s manageable debt burden and lowly funded, albeit manageable, pension plans.”

The bonds are to be issued by the Atlanta Development Authority, the city’s development arm that now does business as Invest Atlanta. The bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the city, meaning the city’s ability to raise property taxes if needed to finance bond payments.

Atlanta has not filed pre-sales documents related to the bond sale, according to a report by emma.msrb.org.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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  1. Tom Findley September 12, 2017 10:36 am

    a complete and TOTAL clusterf+ck. Why does the Mayor insist on selling 23 mil in bonds while he is on his way out? I know why…..ASK HIS MOTHER IN LAW. one last payday. nothing ever changes.Report

  2. Letmesaythis September 13, 2017 6:50 am

    While this is a great initiative ….what about the homeless in Woodruff Park and the 5 points MARTA station?
    In NO other city, in it main crossroads of it’s downtown are the homeless allowed to camp out on permanent basis.
    Compassion for those in need and a ‘get real’ solution that Broad Street Plaza or Forsyth Street in NOT a homeless camp site.
    House the folks, feed them, care for them…but they cannot sleep or set up camp in the public domain.
    Do Something!
    Be the leader!Report


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