Nov 19, 2021 - News

The next Atlanta mayor's affordable housing fix

Illustration of a gold-plated house-for-sale sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Yesterday, we asked Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore how they’d stop the Buckhead Cityhood movement. Our series of questions about addressing big issues other than crime if they’re elected mayor continues today, with the city’s housing affordability crisis. You can read their crime platforms here.

Why it matters: Seventy-two percent of Atlantans spend more than 45% of their income on housing and transportation. From 2013 to 2020, the median sale price of a home in Atlanta rose more than 80%. Homeless service providers and housing advocates say it’s difficult to find landlords that will accept vouchers.

Felicia Moore: If elected, Moore told Axios she wants the city to issue a request for qualifications to solicit feedback from people on how the city can develop property it owns for affordable housing opportunities. The city owns about 800 acres, but about half of that is "prime for development,” Moore says.

  • “If you own the dirt, you can control the cost and what happens on it,” she says.

Game plan: Moore says she wants to “reset” the Atlanta Housing Authority board and leadership and determine if any existing land owned by the agency can be used for mixed-income housing.

  • Any new housing in the city should cater to city employees who want to reside in the city as well as low-income families, Moore told Axios.

Andre Dickens: “I don’t have a new thing,” the two-term council member tells Axios. “The new thing is to do the old thing well.”

  • Policies abound when it comes to housing affordability in Atlanta, including ideas he championed, like requiring a percentage of units in new apartments along the Beltline to be affordable. Now action — particularly construction — must follow, Dickens says.

Game plan: If elected, Dickens told Axios, he will work with state and federal housing officials to build mixed-income housing on vacant land owned by the city and Atlanta's housing authority.

  • Additionally, the mayor can use his or her bully pulpit to spur development near transit stations like North Avenue and the former Civic Center site, he says.

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