It was a first for Atlanta. Last December, the city council approved a recurring, local fund for housing. In each year’s budget, it would dedicate a portion of the general fund to improving the city’s supply of affordable units.
But to the frustration of some affordable housing advocates, that new funding stream is not included in the first city budget proposed since the legislation passed.
The reason, according to a statement from the office of Mayor Andre Dickens, is in the language of the law establishing the fund. It allows the city to choose not to allocate local revenue to housing due to certain economic factors. One is if inflation grows faster than the budget.
That is the case in this budget cycle, as Atlanta’s inflation exceeds 10% year over year.
The statement provided by spokesperson Michael Smith said the city “faces multiple challenges as we exit the pandemic,” including employee retention. Because of that, Mayor Dickens’ budget uses local and federal funding to provide a cost of living adjustment for city workers, bonuses for police and pay increases for firefighters.
While his $734.2 million budget may not pay into the recurring housing trust fund, the statement said the mayor is still committing $58.7 million toward affordability in Atlanta in his first four months in office.
“Affordable housing is a key tenet of the Administration,” the statement said. “The Mayor’s investments ensure we leverage existing resources to resolve the current needs of our city.”
In that $58.7 million, the mayor’s office counts $20.1 from the developer remaking the partially abandoned downtown railyard downtown known as the Gulch. The company made the private donation during the administration of former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
The rest of Mayor Dickens’ investment includes $22.5 million for rental assistance, $9 million in funding for the relocation of residents of the condemned Forest Cove apartments and $6. 2 million for homeless…
Read complete post here: