Atlanta’s Mayor Bottoms unveils $9 million effort to help low-income homeowners

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced three new affordable housing programs Friday to help low income homeowners from being displaced.

The three programs total $9 million, which the mayor said was a “drop in the bucket” of what needed to be invested to make Atlanta an affordable city for everyone.

During the mayoral campaign, Bottoms announced a $1 billion public-private initiative to make Atlanta more affordable and to prevent gentrification.

Bottoms said at the press briefing Friday that she has a bar chart in her office with the $1 billion goal so she can keep tabs of how the city is progressing towards that will keep tabs of how much the city and its partners have invested in the affordability space.

Bottoms press briefing

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms listens to Tim Keane as Joyce Sheperd, Charlene Crusoe-Ingram and Carla Smith look on at City Hall press briefing (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” Bottoms said. “we are getting there day by day.”

The three “Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab” programs –  will provide forgivable loans to residents so they can make critical health and safety repairs on their homes. The programs are being implemented by Invest Atlanta with support from the Atlanta Housing Authority and Choice Atlanta.

The three Heritage programs are geared toward seniors, veterans, disabled heads of households and families who have lived in their homes for at least five years. Collecting they will reinvest more than $9 million in the city, and especially in the Westside communities.

The three programs include:

  • Atlanta Heritage: The $5 million citywide program will provide up to $30,000 to eligible City of Atlanta homeowners. It is funded under the Housing Opportunity Bond, a $40 million bond issuance unanimously approved and supported by Atlanta City Council in March 2017;
  • Westside Heritage: The $2 million Owner-Occupied Rehab program is for residents in Westside TAD (tax allocation district) neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and portions of Castleberry Hill. It is being by the Vine City Trust Fund and Westside TAD tax increment financing;
  • Choice Neighborhoods Heritage: A $2 million Owner-Occupied Rehab program for residents in the Choice Neighborhoods – Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center Communities. It is supported by a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, as well as City of Atlanta and Atlanta Housing Authority’s Moving to Work funds.

Tim Keane, the city’s planning commissioner, said the city has a total of 190,000 homes, of which 43 percent are owner-occupied (roughly 81,700 households). Of those, 27 percent house low income residents who could be vulnerable to being displaced. That means that more than 22,000 owner-occupied households in Atlanta are eligible to participate in one or more of these programs.

“You need a clean title to your home to be eligible,” Bottoms said, adding that there are nonprofits able to assist homeowners get clean title to their property.

In addition to Keane, other officials who stood next to Bottoms included several members of the Atlanta City Council; Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta; Catherine Buell, president and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority; and Charlene Crusoe-Ingram, CEO of Meals on Wheels Atlanta.

“As Atlanta’s population continues to expand, we need to continually think about new ways to prevent displacement, maintain affordability and preserve the rich character and history of our communities,” Klementich said. “Ultimately, we want to ensure Atlanta sees balanced, equitable growth benefiting residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

5 replies
  1. JimJ says:

    Are these programs exclusive only to the areas mentioned? Are Grove Park residents available to any of these funds? There’s nothing more Westside Atlanta than Hollowell Pkwy (Bankhead).Report

    Reply
  2. Chris Johnston says:

    This reminds me of a joke:
    Question: How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?
    Answer: One, but the light bulb must want to change.
    Low income home owners are Atlanta City’s light bulb. The City will squander another another $9 million of taxpayer’s money, pouring it down a bottomless hole into which many other $ millions have been poured with no effect.Report

    Reply
    • Patti Kendrick says:

      Chris Johnston,
      Where do you suggest the money goes! Buckhead, Milton, Dunwoody?
      The money should go where it’s needed, no matter how much has been spent in the past. Most of the time, the reason it goes wasted, not because older homeowners don’t want help is because we’ve been promised the moon before and were given moon dust! Find the problem in that!
      You are entitled to your opinions but make sure you know the correct facts. ThanksReport

      Reply

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