The first members of the Community Builders program gathered at a welcoming reception the Invest Atlanta offices on October 26 to mark the official launch of the initiative.
Invest Atlanta created the Community Builders program in response to growing interest from residents on the Westside to learn how to redevelop vacant, abandoned, and blighted commercial and multi-family properties. The goal of the program is to empower participants to partner with Invest Atlanta on the organization’s work on the Westside.
Through this program, participants will learn core property redevelopment skills, and once they complete it, they’ll be eligible to apply for funding assistance to support their own redevelopment projects.
Invest Atlanta has committed $15 million to the Westside Community Fund and leverages these dollars in coordination with public and private partners to address critical areas of need – such as affordable housing, employment opportunities, and retail development. The work is focused on the neighborhoods of English Avenue, Vine City, and Castleberry Hill.
The work is being done in several different areas. First, IA is working to create and retain the affordable workforce housing stock so more people can call Atlanta “home,” whether they’re renting, leasing, or looking to buy a home.
For example, IA is working with developers to turn 24 vacant properties into new affordable housing units in English Avenue and Vine City that will go to families earning 80%-100% of the area median income. IA is also expanding employment opportunities through our support of great organizations like Westside Works, and supporting area small businesses on the Westside like Steed Media Group through grants and low-interest small business loans. In addition, IA is improving quality of life in many ways, from removing blight to creating greenspace, and reenergizing the MLK corridor with economic investment to supporting service organizations like Families First.
The ultimate goals are to create jobs, invest in neighborhoods, and create greater equity in our communities. This is all being done along with our other economic and community development programs, as well as alongside Invest Atlanta’s many public and private partners.