ATLANTA – John Ahmann, President and CEO of the Westside Future Fund (WFF), announced today that the nonprofit would soon start more affordable housing development activity, thanks to its public-private partnership with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Invest Atlanta, and Atlanta Housing. WFF will begin the development of approximately 50 vacant single-family lots and 36 multi-family apartments, primarily in the English Avenue neighborhood, with occupancy targeted for early 2021. WFF purchased these lots and apartments as part of its “Home on the Westside” community retention program, and Atlanta Housing approved project-based Homeflex vouchers to enable development.
“Affordable housing is a key component of our Administration’s One Atlanta Housing Affordability Plan and Economic Mobility Plan,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The work of the Westside Future Fund, in conjunction with Invest Atlanta and Atlanta Housing, shows what we can do when public and private partners collaborate on sustainable change. Thank you to the partners and donors for serving as a powerful catalyst for fueling progress toward economic equity for underserved Atlantans through the Home on the Westside development.”
In alignment with WFF’s core commitment to community retention and partnership with the Bottoms Administration, WFF has committed nearly $80 million to date to acquire and develop high quality, affordable housing. Current WFF holdings include over 250 multi-family units and more than 100 single-family lots.
WFF’s multi-million dollar commitment is augmented by an additional $17 million in public funds from Invest Atlanta and Atlanta Housing. The philanthropic and public dollars ensure affordability for those earning 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and less (2020 AMI for the Atlanta metro area is $82,700 for a family of four). WFF also has an Impact Fund that magnifies the benefit of philanthropic and public dollars. Impact Fund investors do not profit from their investments in affordable housing on the Historic Westside.
“The Home on the Westside partnership is another way to help ensure an equitable redevelopment future in this dynamic Westside community while reinvigorating quality of life for legacy residents,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Westside Tax Allocation District funding enabled Invest Atlanta to purchase vacant, deteriorating properties for redevelopment utilizing long-term, nominal-fee ground leases to preserve deep levels of housing affordability in neighborhoods close to major employment centers. We are proud to be a part of this public-private partnership and remain focused on bringing greater affordability and a mix of housing options to more communities.”
Using a set of community retention guidelines established by its Board of Directors, WFF’s Home on the Westside initiative prioritizes families with ties to the neighborhoods in WFF’s footprint for high-quality, deeply affordable housing opportunities. Through the initiative, a higher priority is given to current and displaced residents from the English Avenue, Vine City, Atlanta University Center (AUC), Ashview Heights, Just Us, and Historic Booker T. Washington neighborhoods. Graduates of Booker T. Washington High School and AUC institutions, and those who work within the footprint, such as Atlanta Public School teachers and AUC faculty and staff, are also eligible.
“Atlanta Housing is proud to play a role in this unique public private partnership by providing Homeflex vouchers for current and planned projects,” said Atlanta Housing CEO Eugene Jones. “The vouchers provide housing assistance that residents sorely need, but also provide a revenue stream that creates new investment opportunities for affordable housing. We are deeply committed to keeping legacy families on the Historic Westside.”
Approximately 125 Home on the Westside homeowners are also enrolled in WFF’s Anti- Displacement Tax Fund. Launched in 2017, the program is designed to help ensure that current qualifying homeowners are not displaced due to rising property taxes.
Terri M. Lee, Mayor Bottoms’ appointee as the city’s first Chief Housing Officer, serves on Westside Future Fund’s Board as an ex-officio member, along with Dr. Klementich and Mr. Jones.
“All of WFF’s philanthropic fundraising for affordable housing supports Mayor Bottoms’ historic $1 billion commitment. So far, we’ve raised approximately $25 million against an initial, overall goal of $50 million, said Ahmann, who previously served on Mayor Bottoms’ 2018 Transition Committee, chairing the Housing Subcommittee. “We’re excited to work alongside House ATL as well as other placed-based and affordable housing organizations that support Mayor Bottoms’ historic affordable housing commitment.”
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Westside Future Fund’s Board Chair and President Emerita of Spelman College, thanked Mayor Bottoms and Atlanta’s corporate community for their dedication to community revitalization and improving economic mobility for Westside residents.
“On behalf of the Board of the Westside Future Fund, I thank Mayor Bottoms and our visionary partners and investors for their collective actions to address longstanding inequities in these historic African American neighborhoods,” said Tatum. “In recent weeks, so many have asked what they can do to advance social justice and inclusion. Participating in the Home on the Westside program is a tangible way to invest on the right side of history and positively impact the city’s legacy for generations to come.”
Establishing stable, mixed-income communities is one of WFF’s core strategies for achieving holistic and sustainable community transformation. Through this model, WFF also invests in creating high performing schools, increasing access to affordable healthcare, parks, and greenspace, and ensuring the safety and security of Historic Westside neighborhoods.
About Westside Future Fund
Westside Future Fund is a nonprofit formed by Atlanta’s public, private and philanthropic partners who believe in the future of Atlanta’s Westside and are committed to helping Historic Westside neighborhoods revitalize and develop into a community Dr. King would be proud to call home. WFF serves as a “community quarterback” organization for the holistic redevelopment of English Avenue, Vine City, Ashview Heights, Atlanta University Center, Just Us and the Booker T. Washington neighborhoods. In collaboration with residents, community leaders, and a wide variety of public and private partners, WFF is driving change by focusing on four impact areas: mixed-income communities; cradle-to-career education; community health and wellness; and safety and security. Grounded in a compassionate approach to revitalization aimed at community retention, the organization is focused on creating a diverse mixed-income community, improving quality of life, and elevating and celebrating the Historic Westside’s unique history and culture.