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Atlanta City Design Housing

A look into how housing policy shaped Atlanta’s design, how that design impacts the city’s residents, and ways to design it for everyone. Make sure you check out the Housing Affordability Action Plan (HAAP).

A Project of the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning.

Visit the website HERE

Glossary of Terms

Affordable Housing – Housing for which the occupants are paying no more than 30 percent of their income for gross housing costs, including utilities. Local policy often seeks to serve renters up to 60% or 80% of Area Median Income, owners up to 100% or 120% of Area Median Income.

Area Median Income – A benchmark which divides income distribution in a given area into two equal parts: one-half earn above this amount and one-half below. Affordable housing eligibility is generally based on income as compared to this benchmark. Area median income figures are calculated by household size by HUD on annual basis for all metropolitan regions of the country and rural areas of states. Housing policy will often focus on households at various AMI levels (e.g. 30%, 50%, 60%, 80%, 100%, 120% of AMI).

Moderate Income Households – Defined by HUD as those households whose incomes are near the area’s median (80 to 120 percent of the median). This measure can be adjusted to account for family size. US Census Bureau defines as 80% of median.

Workforce Housing – Housing for those who earn too much to qualify for most affordable housing programs yet cannot afford the average market rate. The meaning of this term can vary by market and by context but often refers to households between 60 to 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), renters and owners.

Assisted Housing – Any housing development which has received some form of public subsidy from local, state or federal sources, typically to support the creation of affordable housing units.

Community Land Trust – Community land trusts are nonprofit, community-based organizations designed to ensure community stewardship of land. Community land trusts can be used for many types of development (including commercial and retail) but are primarily used to ensure long-term housing affordability.

Density Bonus – An agreement to allow developers to increase the number of units beyond that which would normally be allowed under a specific zoning regulation, in exchange for setting aside a specific share of units affordable to people with low or moderate incomes.

Down Payment Assistance – A “catch-all” term for a variety of programs designed to help homebuyers purchase a home with fewer out-of-pocket costs. These can include free housing grants, funds towards closing costs, forgivable loans, and 0% non-forgivable loans.

Fair Market Rent (FMR) – The maximum rent which can be charged on a unit to meet either a 60% of AMI or 80% of AMI income maximum for an affordable unit. FMRs are determined annually by HUD and primarily used to determine payment standard amounts for housing assistance voucher programs and other housing assistance payment programs.

Homelessness – When individuals lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

Shared from the City of Atlanta’s Website:

A Resource Guide for Residents

As Atlanta’s population grows, so does its need for affordable housing. The Department of City Planning is committed to affordable housing for all of Atlanta’s residents. We seek to promote and accommodate growth in an equitable way that benefits all residents. We utilize a variety of programs and partnerships to advance this goal. Below you will find a link to the Affordable Housing Guide which provides information to those seeking affordable housing, whether you are seeking to rent, purchase a home, or need assistance staying in your home. You will also find a link to the 2020–2021 cold weather shelters that operate when temperatures drop below 35 degrees.

Read, download, and share the Affordable Housing Guide from the link above, or click here for the printable PDF.

For additional reading, you may enjoy the One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan from the office of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. This includes concrete actions the City is taking or is planning to take to encourage the development of and preservation of affordable housing.


Federal Resources

Housing and Urban Development
What they do
Local office

Federal Housing Finance Agency
What they do

Federal Housing Administration
What they do

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
What they do
File a complaint

List of Local Housing Agencies

State Resources

Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Safe & Affordable Housing
Housing Facts Sheets
Resources for vets
Landlord-Tenant Handbook
Georgia Dream (First-time home ownership assistance)
Full list of resources

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section-8)
What they Do
Wait list (currently closed)
Requirements for application

Homeless and Special Needs Housing (Administered by DCA)
Homeless and in need of help

Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness (advocacy group)
What they do


Rental Help in Georgia (Administered by Hud)

Search for a subsidized apartment

Local Resources

City of Atlanta
City of Atlanta Housing Affordably Action Plan
City of Atlanta Housing Affordability Tracker
City of Atlanta contacts

House ATL
What they do

Atlanta Housing Authority
What they do
Housing Programs
Frequently Asked Questions and Contact

Beltline Affordable Housing
What they do

Atlanta Regional Commission
What they do
ARC Housing Project Group

Invest Atlanta
What they do
Homebuyer and Down payment Assistance Program

Atlanta Affordable Housing Fund

Open Doors Atlanta
What they do
Immediate help with housing

Hope Atlanta
What they do
Immediate help with housing

Affordable Housing Online (Atlanta)
What they do

AID Atlanta

List of area homeless shelters



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