Meeting the Need for Affordable Housing Preservation

  • Housing affordability challenges are acutely felt amongst renters in the Atlanta region. According to data from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS), there were 158,441 severely cost-burdened renter households spending at least 50 percent of their income on housing. These households – along with nearly 92,000 severely cost-burdened homeowners and more than 4,700 persons experiencing homelessness according to the latest HUD Point-in-Time count – are considered housing insecure, with associated impacts on health, education, and overall well-being. The problem is getting worse. From 2000 to 2013, the number of housing insecure, low-income households increased 22 percent in the City of Atlanta, and 88 percent in the Atlanta region.[1]
  • Addressing the need for affordable housing across the region will require a concerted, multifaceted strategy that increases the supply of homes available to households across the income spectrum and preserves affordability where it currently exists. Preservation of the existing affordable housing stock is a particularly urgent challenge. From 2010 – 2014, there was a 17 percent reduction in the number of units renting at less than $500, and a 15.7 percent reduction in the number of units renting from $500-750.[2] According to data from the National Housing Preservation Database, subsidy restrictions are set to expire for 48,319 units by 2030, 21,007 of which expire by 2020.[3]
  • To address this challenge, a number of regional stakeholders have been working to support concerted preservation efforts. In addition to facilitating preservation through the issuance of housing bonds and the allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credits), Georgia DCA recently announced the availability of additional resources that can support preservation. In March 2016, the agency released a notice of funding availability for gap financing funded through the HUD HOME Investment Partnership program[4]. Georgia DCA has also identified two Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) partners in May 2016 (one individual CDFI and one coalition of CDFIs) to set up a revolving loan fund, with $8 million available to finance affordable housing activities in both urban and rural communities across the state. These efforts represent a strong step toward providing the resources necessary to fully utilize existing permanent financing resources. However, the scale of the challenge requires focused efforts to develop additional capacity and resources to preserve affordable rental homes.

Addressing this Need through Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Preservation Challenge

  • About the Event: Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Preservation Challenge (Preservation Challenge) is an idea competition to generate innovative, implementable proposals that will help preserve affordable housing in the Atlanta region and throughout Georgia’s urban centers. Sponsored by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and organized by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia ACT, and Enterprise Community Partners, the competition is open to all stakeholders with an interest in affordable housing, and up to $100,000 in resources will be made to support concept development and implementation.

[1] Enterprise tabulations of 2013 US Census Bureau American Community Survey data. For the purpose of this data analysis only, the Atlanta region is defined as Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale Counties. This does not constitute an official definition of the region for the purpose of this scope-of-work.

[2] Immergluck, Dan, Ann Carpenter, and Abram Lueders. “Declines in Low-Cost Rented Housing Units in Eight Large Southeastern Cities.” Community & Economic Development Discussion Paper. Atlanta, GA: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, May 2016.

[3] The frame of reference for this data-point match the geographic scope of this initiative: Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett Counties.

[4] Through this NOFA, DCA reserved $14.7 million in HOME funds to develop 378 units in Atlanta and 310 units outside of the Atlanta area, using the 4% Housing Credit. Though preservation was an eligible use of funds, all of these units will be newly constructed.