We’re proudly strengthened by the support of organizations across Atlanta. Our organization’s very existence is a testament to The Atlanta Way, where our corporate community has always rallied around important issues facing our city. We have also received support from the City of Atlanta’s Department of Planning and Community Development.
We are working to sustain ourselves quickly in order to ensure that we’re around to support Westside residents for years to come.
A lot of people have gotten involved in Westside revitalization, but who’s actually leading the efforts?
Nearly all success stories in community revitalization have one thing in common: a champion – someone to coordinate and lead the efforts of many. The Westside Future Fund was established by the mayor and Atlanta Committee for Progress to play that role. We aim to accomplish that in four main ways:
- Connecting resources with needs
- Convening the right people around the table (many of whom you’ve heard about)
- Collaborating on strategies, and
- Coordinating all of these efforts, which are vital to the Westside’s long-term success
What are your specific objectives and timetable for delivering them?
2016 is all about putting the right plans and processes in place to drive long-term, sustainable change. Our objectives are to:
- Formalize engagement process for residents, community leaders, and other key partners
- Identify priority areas of impact and determine both how to measure their progress and how to fund them
- Drive revitalization and eliminate blight
- Develop a Community Retention Strategy and executable Land Use Action Plan
- Develop critical support functions
- Develop a data analysis tool to inform decision-making, track progress, and hold ourselves and other partners accountable
Future years will focus on continued progress with impact strategies and ongoing engagement and collaboration with residents and community leaders.
What are you doing to curb speculators and price gouging?
Rising property values are both a good and bad byproduct of a community’s improvement. We know it needs to be monitored and managed so that current residents are not displaced. That’s why we’re working with Invest Atlanta and other partners to acquire properties on the Westside and partner with developers to maintain affordability and ensure stable growth in the future.
How do you improve the overall community without driving out current residents?
Do residents actually have a voice in the decision-making process?
Yes! We value residents’ voices – no one knows the neighborhoods as well as the people who live in them. We don’t have all the answers, so we’re here to work alongside residents and community leaders in bringing about positive change. Our recent collaborations have included:
- During the development of the Land Use Action Plan, we met with more 1,300 residents and stakeholders to gather input and actually reshaped the process altogether in response to recommendations and feedback from community members.
- Our bi-monthly Transform Westside Summits have evolved into a forum for residents, philanthropists, and the business community to stand on equal footing in sharing hopes, aspirations and ideas for the Westside.
- We have partnered with the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and residents from each of the 4 neighborhoods to revive the Historic Westside News, which we hope will continue to be a portal for residents to celebrate successes, express challenges, and to hold organizations working on the Westside accountable through community journalism and creative expression.
What are your specific plans on education, housing, jobs and safety in the area?
We are collaborating with our partners on a comprehensive strategy in these impact areas and setting 5-year targets for key metrics proven to drive positive change in revitalization efforts. Visit our Impact Strategies page for more details.
How is the WFF working to ensure historic properties are preserved and highlighted as the neighborhood changes?
A number of properties on the Westside are more than just historically significant for Atlanta – many are of national importance. Among these are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s adult home, the Herndon Home, the Atlanta University Center and Paschal’s Restaurant. We are committed to preserving these structures and more and honoring their history as we work to restore the strength of the Westside, and their status has been noted in our Land Use Action Plan.
What does success look like?
We will be successful when current residents are thriving and benefitting equally from the prosperity that the rest of Atlanta is experiencing.
Residents should be able to …
- Feel safe and secure at home and on the streets where they live
- Secure housing that enables people from all walks of life to live in the community together
- Receive the training and tools they need to improve their standard of living
- Access care that improves their health and quality of life for generations to come