Inside City Hall: Mayor Dickens makes big announcements on affordable housing

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about Atlanta City Hall.
With the presence of HUD Deputy Secretary Adrienne Todman, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens delivered a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for Ashley Scholars Landing II. This development will comprise 212 mixed-income housing units and over 240 parking spaces. The funding for the Scholars Landing complex comes from a combination of state, city, private, and federal sources.
Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

With the presence of HUD Deputy Secretary Adrienne Todman, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens delivered a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for Ashley Scholars Landing II. This development will comprise 212 mixed-income housing units and over 240 parking spaces. The funding for the Scholars Landing complex comes from a combination of state, city, private, and federal sources. Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens set a steep goal for himself to create or preserve 20,000 affordable housing units by 2030, to help mitigate hardships for low-income residents while the city continues to grow.

Last week the first-term mayor gave an update on the ambitious target: the city has already completed over 3,000 units with nearly 5,000 more in the works.

“Our city cannot meet its full potential if our people do not have a stable place to lay their head at night,” Dickens said last Thursday.

The mayor’s remarks came at the grand opening of the city’s new Housing Help Center located at 2 Peachtree Street. The city bought the 41-story building for $39 million to turn underutilized office space into a massive mixed-income, mix-use space that will hold hundreds of housing units in the heart of downtown.

“It will bring more residents and a new life to downtown Atlanta,” he said of the project that sits adjacent to Five Points Marta station. “2 Peachtree will literally stand tall as a testament of our dedication to this work.”

The Housing Help Center aims to connect Atlanta residents with housing support and personalized case management. Atlantans will also be able to access housing resources at the Office of Constituent Services in City Hall.

Dickens attributed big steps the city has taken toward it’s affordable housing goal to the administration’s effort to purchase new or reoutfit old buildings, its focus on helping unhoused residents and dedication of funds toward keeping legacy residents in their homes.

The city also scored a big win toward creating affordable housing units last May through partnerships with philanthropic groups ― the Robert W. Woodruff and Joseph B. Whitehead foundations — and a City Council-approved $100 million housing bond that together was the largest single investment in affordable housing in Atlanta history, according to the city.

During his speech on Thursday, Dickens said that next month Atlanta Housing will open up to 2,000 new project-based housing vouchers.

Earlier this month the mayor announced the city is filing a class action lawsuit against Millennia, the owner of the rundown Forest Cove apartment complex in southeast Atlanta, where residents were living for decades with mold, rats and crumbling walls.

Dickens said as the city continues toward its goal of 20,000 affordable housing units, officials are looking to crack down on delinquent landlords through an $800,000 funding boost from the Housing Trust Fund toward code enforcement.

“We must ensure that no other property in Atlanta becomes the next Forest Cove,” the mayor said. “...We will not allow slumlords in our city, and we will relentlessly go after those who put our residents at risk.”

Views of Two Peachtree office building in Downtown Atlanta as seen on Tuesday, December 13, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

icon to expand image

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

---

A big welcome to the city’s Department of Labor and Employment Service Commissioner John Flanagan, who was appointed last week to oversee Atlanta’s newly established labor department. The labor division at City Hall launched in July, aims to expand resources for employment and training to Atlantans across the city.

Flanagan will take on the task of administering career-related efforts across the city such as Summer Youth Employment and the Apprenticeship program. The new member of Dicken’s cabinet has more than 15 years of experience in workforce development and most recently served as the President/Chief Executive Officer for CareerSource Tampa Bay — a local workforce development board in Florida.

Welcome to Trinity Avenue!

---

The Atlanta City Council FEC committee holds a meeting on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at City Hall in Atlanta.  Council members voted to approve funding for the new Atlanta police training center also known as Cop City. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

icon to expand image

Also of note: City Council is on hiatus this week and will be back next Monday, Nov. 6, for its next full council meeting. We’ll be curious to see what new legislation council members have been working on during their few days off.

---

Got tips, tricks or just want to say hello? Email me at riley.bunch@ajc.com.

 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's City Hall reporter Riley Bunch poses for a photograph outside of the Atlanta City Hall on Thursday, Feb 23, 2023
Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

Credit: Miguel Martinez

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez