The city of Atlanta’s economic development arm is seeking a nonprofit to run a new property tax aid program to help longtime Atlanta homeowners keep their houses, as property values spike in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

Invest Atlanta is launching the program in 2023 to pay increases over base property taxes for lower-income Atlantans (making under 60% of the area median income) who have owned homes in the Southwest and Grove Park neighborhoods since 2015.

Priority will go to homeowners over age 65 and those who have lived in their homes for over a decade.

Groups interested in administering the city’s new anti-displacement fund—which includes doing outreach to inform homeowners about it—have until Nov. 11 to respond to Invest Atlanta’s request for proposals. The agency will announce the winning bid on Dec. 9, and it’s already set April 1, 2023 as the deadline for homeowners to apply for tax relief grants. 

Invest Atlanta estimates that over 1,800 households will be eligible for the anti-displacement program—and it’s allocating over $40 million to defray participants’ property tax increases for the next 20 years, according to the RFP. 

The program is initially being funded with $4.6 million from the $28 million Centennial Yards Housing Trust Fund created by the Gulch redevelopment deal. 

Invest Atlanta told Atlanta Civic Circle it’s too soon to say how much the program is expected to pay out per person—some of the $40.7 million cost over 20 years will be for administration and outreach efforts—or how its success will be measured. 

The new program is modeled like the Atlanta Beltline Partnership’s Legacy Resident Retention Program, which launched in late 2020 with a $3.5 million annual budget. 

The Beltline Partnership estimates that about 2,500 homeowners living near the Beltline are eligible for the annual grants to cover spikes in their property taxes through 2030–but at the two-year mark, it still only serves 70 households. 

Organizers say that the low participation rate is largely due to obstacles in reaching older homeowners who could benefit.

The Beltline program’s typical grant recipient is age 62, earns less than $37,000 a year, owns a home valued at under $196,000, and has lived there for 22 years, a spokesperson told Atlanta Civic Circle last week.

Beltline-adjacent homeowners can still get help paying their 2022 property taxes through the Legacy Resident Retention Program. Applicants approved by Dec. 31 will receive payment for the current tax year.  

Atlanta property taxes were due Oct. 31 and Fulton County property taxes are due Nov. 15, so the Beltline Partnership encourages eligible Atlantans to act fast.

Here’s the link to apply to the Legacy Resident Retention Program for help paying 2022 property taxes.

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