Inside City Hall: Atlanta shovels deep into affordable housing agenda

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about Atlanta City Hall.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says the city’s participation in relocating more than 800 people from Forest Cove Apartments was a necessary “emergency action” rather than policy. However, he spent the last week of October emphasizing plans to crack down on other negligent properties — an arduous task since state and local governments in Georgia lack authority to address certain issues in privately-owned rentals.

“Unfortunately, we know that Forest Cove is not the only place where people are living in our city in substandard conditions,” Dickens said to members of HouseATL, a group of civic leaders working on affordable housing issues.

“As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently highlighted in their ‘Dangerous Dwellings’ series, there are too many apartment complexes that have too many issues that have not gone addressed,” Dickens said.

After the AJC published its year-long investigation on unsafe and unsanitary apartments in metro Atlanta, Atlanta and Fulton County prosecutors identified 43 complexes on which they plan to crack down.

Credit: City of Atlanta

Credit: City of Atlanta

Dickens said the city wants to help property owners, but if they don’t comply, then he will take steps to remove “bad actors” from blighted properties. He’s urging tenants to call 311 and to request an inspection from the city’s code compliance team if they are aware of any nuisance properties.

The coming crack down on negligent rentals is a part of the mayor’s five-point affordable housing plan, which was released last week. In it, he outlines how his Affordable Housing Strike Force will contribute to policy decisions concerning investments into affordable units, supporting the homeless, and housing people with HIV or AIDS. You can learn more about the housing agenda on the city’s website.

Under the Dickens administration, 1,739 affordable units have been built and 3,940 are under construction as part of the city’s 20,000-unit overall goal. We’ll keep you posted on Atlanta’s progress.

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The city of Atlanta broke ground Sunday on its first faith-based affordable housing project. We told you in February that Dickens wants to create 2,000 units on church-owned land. Atlanta First United Methodist Church at 360 Peachtree Street NE was selected to participate in that process.

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Credit: Invest Atlanta

Credit: Invest Atlanta

City leaders and residents recently celebrated the grand opening of Quill Apartments on the Eastside. According to Invest Atlanta, the property at 1460 La France Street features 208 units. Fifty-three of those units are offered at monthly rents between $1,116 to $1,436 for folks making 80% of the area median income, or $69,440 for a family of three.

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The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta recently announced plans to work with nearly 50 civic, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including the city and Wells Fargo, to invest $220 million into efforts to build or preserve more than 6,000 homes for families of color in the city by 2026.

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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

In case you missed it: Several Atlanta organizations recently received state grants to support new affordable housing projects. The Atlanta Beltline received $3 million and the Atlanta Land Trust received $808,000 to build 15 homes in Black neighborhoods within the Beltline corridor.

Focused Community Strategies received $2.5 million to redevelop a blighted gas station in south Atlanta into a small mixed-use community with 24 units. The MicroLife Institute is using its $2.5 million to build 10 rental townhomes at 2106 Baker Road for formerly incarcerated women.

The Georgia Works nonprofit, which employs homeless men in the city, is using its $5 million to rehab an existing church into 70 transitional units, and to build 20 new units.

Send us tips and feedback at Wilborn.Nobles@ajc.com.