Amid the tumult of this week’s marathon Atlanta City Council meeting over funding approval for the controversial Public Safety Training Center, councilmembers passed a trio of legislation in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to finance affordable housing and services for low-income renters.
Most notably, the council approved a measure June 6 that authorizes the city of Atlanta to borrow up to $100 million through bond issues to build and preserve affordable housing.
A whole $38 million of the bond funding will be dedicated to building affordable units on public land by partnering with nonprofits or private developers “or as part of a project owned in part by a public agency,” the legislation says. The new apartments would be priced as affordable for households earning up to 80% of the area median income (AMI)—or about $77,000 for a family of four—but the city’s goal is to focus on units for those earning 60% of the AMI or less.
Another $29 million chunk of the bond package will provide gap financing for private developers building apartments that include units priced at below-market rents. Some of those projects will rely on Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, too.
Bonds worth $15 million dollars will fund infrastructure improvements on city-owned land, like upgrades to utilities, streets, and stormwater management systems, and another $15 million in bond issues will fund the city’s new Safe and Secure Housing program—providing financing either for landlords to renovate dilapidated apartment complexes or for the city to acquire them from neglectful and predatory landlords.
The remaining $3 million will cover the bond program’s administrative costs.
The bond package is intended to complement a $200 million windfall of philanthropic contributions for Atlanta housing initiatives managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. In May the nonprofit announced with the city that it had secured $100 million in donations from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, and that it aimed to raise another $100 million.
The council on Tuesday also approved allocating $800,000 from the affordable housing trust fund to the Safe and Secure Housing program to hire seven additional code enforcement staff for the city solicitor’s office and to contract with private attorneys. The aim is to beef up the city’s code enforcement against problem properties and landlords.
Finally, the council green-lit a new Housing Help Center, allocating $600,000 to hire four employees and launch a website to help renters having problems finding housing they can afford.
Mayor Andre Dickens’ administration has billed the help center as a “one-stop shop for Atlanta residents seeking affordable housing resources.”
|Apartment rehab||Safe and Secure Housing Initiative||$15 million|
|A multifamily preservation fund will finance the restoration of existing apartment complexes and support public-private partnerships buying and/or rehabbing properties|
|Public land development||Housing Production Fund||$38 million|
|Bonds will finance the construction of affordable apartments on publicly owned land and at developments owned in part by the city|
|Public Land Infrastructure Improvements||$15 million|
|A fund will spur upgrades to public infrastructure, including utilities, streets, sidewalks, and storm water management systems.|
|Multifamily loans||Multifamily Gap Financing Program||$29 million|
|Financing will provide gap funding for multifamily projects promising affordable units, including those that rely on state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and some that don’t|
|Program administration||Program Administration and Bond Issuance Costs||$3 million|
|Funds will cover the cost of issuing the bonds and administering the above mentioned housing programs|