Sept. 15 Summit Recap: The Atlanta Housing Authority
September 20, 2017
At our 18th Transform Westside Summit of 2017, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), Catherine Buell, discussed innovative efforts to increase affordable housing options in Atlanta, including Atlanta’s historic Westside, in her Vision 2022presentation.
Vision 2022 is the Authority’s comprehensive strategic plan that, according to Buell, “renews the organization’s focus of being the frontrunner of affordable housing in the City of Atlanta.”
The 5-year plan is broken into three components – LIVE. WORK. THRIVE. – reinforcing its commitment to creating innovative, safe and healthy communities for the residents it serves.
AHA plans to redefine its approach to affordable housing development to emphasize community development alongside the creation of innovative Live-Work-Thrive spaces.
AHA currently provides housing to more than 22,000 of Atlanta’s low-and extremely low-income households, which includes seniors, people with disabilities, and those coming out of homelessness.
Its housing options include more than 50 mixed-income communities across the city that are rich in amenities, such as access to good schools, quality shopping, transportation, etc.
Buell shared in her presentation that AHA has the opportunity to develop 400-plus additional acres of AHA-owned land in the city.
Part of the strategy is its HomeFlex system, which allows the Authority to partner with private developers and reserve a portion of their units for AHA-eligible residents.
HomeFlex supports more than 5,135 affordable housing units on privately-owned land and buildings and is leveraged to create another 1,746 tax credit units.
In addition to HomeFlex, AHA has a down payment assistance program, in partnership with Invest Atlanta, that offers up to $25,000 to qualified home buyers.
The HUD-sponsored Choice Neighborhoods program has also supported the development of quality, affordable housing. AHA was the recipient of a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant, which is allowing them to redevelop the former University Homes site on the Westside.
“Our Choice Neighborhoods program has really been focused on the Westside and how we can make more investments. The program encompasses Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center and Vine City,” Buell stated. “We have a number of partners who helped us invest in the redevelopment of University Homes, the people and the neighborhood.”
The Choice program also includes a voucher system which provides more than 10,000 families with the means to obtain affordable housing by putting the “choice” in their hands.
Empowering residents to WORK and THRIVE
Under AHA’s second strategy, WORK, it will continue to support working families with innovative programs that focus on economic advancement.
Their third strategy focuses on the development of a number of tools and resources to help small businesses and residents THRIVE. One, for example, is its Moving to Work program, which will allow AHA to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies that use federal dollars efficiently, help residents find employment and become more self-sufficient, and increases housing choices for low-income families.
Ultimately, Buell’s focus is on the preservation of existing affordable housing; creation of new modern, affordable communities with access to important amenities; making community and program investments designed to increase self-sufficiency for families and seniors; and ensuring long-term economic stewardship.
To watch Catherine Buell’s full presentation, click here. Her full PowerPoint presentation can also be downloaded here.
And special thanks to Hosea Helps (formerly known as Hosea Feed The Hungry) President & CEO, Elisabeth Omilami, who delivered our morning devotion.
Want to view photos from the Summit? Made a Westside Community Pledge and want to tag yourself in the photo? Visit our Summit photo galleries on the Westside Future Fund’s Facebook page.