Mayor Andre Dickens leads the first meeting of his Affordable Housing Strike Force on May 11. (Courtesy City of Atlanta)

Mayor Andre Dickens said the City of Atlanta will invest $58.7 million in the development and preservation of affordable housing during the first meeting of his Affordable Housing Strike Force on Wednesday.

Dickens told the task force, made up of leaders from across government and the nonprofit sector, that money would also be used to prevent evictions and address homelessness in the city.

“Housing is foundational to a community’s health, and simply put, Atlanta doesn’t have enough of it,” Dickens said. “Since day one of my Administration, the development and preservation of affordable housing has been at the top of our agenda, and the steps we are taking today will rocket us forward. Atlantans deserve access to high-quality homes that they can afford.”

Dicken’s multi-million commitment is one of the city’s largest-ever single-year housing investments. The mayor said his administration is already in the process of deploying those funds toward affordable housing and homelessness initiatives including:

  • $22.5 million in emergency rental assistance, newly secured from the Federal government;
  • $9.1 million to support the relocation of residents from the Forest Cove Apartments, sourced through American Rescue Plan funds;
  • $6.2 million in homelessness assistance, sourced through American Rescue Plan funds; and
  • $20.9 million activated to develop affordable housing through the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

The Affordable Housing Strike Force will collaborate across their respective organizations to prioritize development projects based on shared goals, jointly identify the needs and obstacles to development, and coordinate planning, funding and infrastructure investments across agencies.

The Strike Force will also partner with non-profit, faith-based and private developers to achieve its goals.

Members who were in attendance at today’s meeting included:

  • City of Atlanta COO Lisa Gordon
  • City of Atlanta Senior Advisor Courtney English
  • MARTA Interim General Manager & CEO Collie Greenwood
  • Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring
  • Atlanta BeltLine President & CEO Clyde Higgs
  • Atlanta Housing President & CEO Eugene Jones, Jr.
  • Invest Atlanta President & CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich
  • Metro Atlanta Land Bank Executive Director Christopher Norman
  • Atlanta Land Trust Executive Director Amanda Rhein

“I am particularly thankful that our public sector counterparts including Atlanta Public Schools and MARTA are joining us in this effort,” Dickens added. “Housing, education and transportation are inextricably linked for families, so we need to approach this work in a holistic and coordinated manner. We will be looking at the potential of redeveloping vacant school buildings and ensuring that transit will be part of every development opportunity at the outset.”

The Strike Force will identify viable public land, secure funding, and expedite regulatory processes for development of affordable housing. Work has already begun to conduct a market valuation study that will identify sites that are ready to be built in the short term as well as other large-scale project sites with transformational potential.

The funding and Affordable Housing Strike Force are the latest steps Dickens has taken to make significant investments in housing.

Last week, the mayor announced four new appointments to the Atlanta Housing Board of Commissioners. Earlier this week, Dickens attended the reopening of the 542-unit Villages of East Lake mixed-income community.

Dickens has also supported the development of the 250-unit Skyline Apartments in Peoplestown, 116 units in Reynoldstown, nearly 500 units near Greenbriar Mall, 30 units at Unity Place and 30 units at Covenant House.

The Dickens Administration has also led or supported additional investments in housing, including: securing $2.5 million from JP Morgan Chase to the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partners to support affordable homeownership for people of color; securing $1.3 million from Wells Fargo in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners to fund at least one thousand units in partnership with faith-based organizations; and financing for Invest Atlanta to support nearly 400 units.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.