Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms unveiled a new housing initiative to preserve affordable housing in the City of Atlanta and help current lower-income residents avoid displacement. The initiative includes three owner-occupied rehabilitation (OOR) programs, Atlanta Heritage, Westside Heritage, and Choice Neighborhoods Heritage, which will provide forgivable loans to residents to make critical health and safety repairs on their homes.
Invest Atlanta is conducting four citywide information sessions for residents starting March 10. Program managers will begin accepting applications in early April. More information about the Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab programs can be found at www.investatlanta.com/owneroccupiedrehab/.
The program is being implemented by Invest Atlanta with support from the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Housing Authority, Choice Atlanta, Meals on Wheels Atlanta and other organizations.
“Building a city for all means ensuring those who’ve put down roots can remain in their communities,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab programs demonstrate Atlanta’s continued commitment to preserving affordability for homeowners and renters alike. Through this effort, we will keep longtime residents from being pushed out of their homes by rising property values.”
Celebrating the announcement alongside Mayor Bottoms were members of the Atlanta City Council, Commissioner of the Department of City Planning Tim Keane, Invest Atlanta President and CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich, Atlanta Housing Authority President and CEO Catherine Buell, and Meals on Wheels Atlanta CEO Charlene Crusoe-Ingram.
“As Atlanta’s population continues to expand, we need to constantly think about new ways to prevent displacement, maintain affordability and preserve the rich character and history of our communities,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Atlanta Heritage follows our successful Owner-Occupied Rehab pilot program in the Westside and will provide critical assistance to more City of Atlanta residents. Ultimately, we want to ensure that Atlanta sees balanced, equitable growth benefiting residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.”
Senior households aged 55+, military veterans, disabled head of households, and those that have been in their homes for 15+ years will have priority in the programs. They include one citywide program, Atlanta Heritage, and two area-specific programs:
- Atlanta Heritage: The $5 million citywide program will provide up to $30,000 to eligible City of Atlanta homeowners, and is funded under the Housing Opportunity Bond, a $40 million bond issuance unanimously approved and supported by Atlanta City Council in March 2017;
- Westside Heritage: The $2 million OOR program is for residents in Westside TAD neighborhoods (Vine City, English Avenue and portions of Castleberry Hill), and is funded by the Vine City Trust Fund and Westside TAD tax increment financing.
- Choice Neighborhoods Heritage: A $2 million OOR program is for residents in the Choice Neighborhoods (Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center Communities) and is supported by a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, as well as City of Atlanta and Atlanta Housing Authority Moving to Work funds.
Forgivable loan amounts for the Westside Heritage and Choice Neighborhoods Heritage programs will vary based on the nature of repairs recommended by the program manager, Meals on Wheels Atlanta (MOWA). MOWA is a non-profit social services agency with a mission to support senior independence through meals, shelter, education and communities, with more than a decade of experience providing such services for seniors in the metro Atlanta area.
The program launch followed the success of Invest Atlanta’s pilot owner-occupied rehab program in the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods. The success of the pilot allowed Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and Meals on Wheels to expand the program.
The Heritage OOR programs are part of Mayor Bottoms’ larger goal of investing $1 billion from public and private sources to support affordable housing in Atlanta, the largest such investment in our city’s history. This comes soon after the City of Atlanta and the Westside Future Fund announced the Anti-Displacement Tax Fund Program, an initiative which will pay any property tax increases for qualifying homeowners in the English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center communities.