Earlier this month, city officials approved a spending plan spanning the next few months that addresses the lack of affordable housing in Atlanta.
Beltline President and CEO Paul Morris has come up with a $69.8 million budget, $2.2 million of which will go towards affordable housing in the budget year that ends in June 2017. An additional $50 million bond sale is expected to raise $7.5 million for the cause over the next several years. Atlanta Beltline’s goal is ultimately to make sure that there’s affordable housing all over the city, but especially within the 22-mile park/trails/transit corridor.
“The pace with which that affordability is decline is much faster than anything else happening in our economy,” said Morris.
In reality, Atlanta’s housing price gains are outpacing the national gain. Just over the last year, home prices in Atlanta rose 5.8%. As prices rise, they also outpace wage gains, making the city’s housing even less affordable.
Over the past five years, developers have built thousands of new condos and apartments in the park/trails/transit corridor, yet only about 560 units of affordable housing have been created there. Beltline has stated its intent to increase that number to 5,600 by the year 2030.
According to Emma Darnell, the Fulton County commissioner who also sits on the Invest Atlanta board, working families are struggling to stay in their homes or move to the area because they are being priced out. Though she praised the trails and luxury homes that have come to Atlanta, she made it very clear that something needs to be done so that working families can enjoy the area, too. After all, 83% of Americans feel that having a nice home with a yard is important, but why shouldn’t that luxury be available to the middle class as well?