Atlanta's 1995 Consolidated Plan constitutes a strategic vision for housing and community development. The purpose of the Consolidated Plan is to streamline the HUD grant application process and to ensure that funding decisions are made in the cont
ext of the city's Comprehensive Development Plan. This summary offers city residents a quick overview of Atlanta's housing and community development needs, the 5-year goals of the Consolidated Plan, and the strategies and actions for carrying out those g
oals in 1995.
This plan includes a 1-year action plan for 105 specific projects using CDBG, HOME, HOPWA, and ESG funds to promote expansion of the supply of housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income persons; shelter and services for persons who are homeless o r have special needs; community facilities; social services; and economic development.
The preparation of this Consolidated Plan began with seven public hearings to gather citizen input in January/February 1994. On April 4, 1994, the City Council adopted a Citizen Participation Plan, the proposed schedule for the Consolidated Plan, and
the policies for the 1995 Federal grant funds. In May 1994, two workshops were held for citizens to learn more about participation opportunities in the development of the Consolidated Plan. Between March and June 1994, the city underwent an extensive citi
zen involvement effort as part of its related Empowerment Zone application process, including a review of proposals by all Neighborhood Planning Units. In October 1994, a summary of the Plan was advertised in the two major Atlanta newspapers and was made
available at other public locations. The Plan was adopted by the City Council on October 25, 1994.
A major center of industry, trade, and education in the South, Atlanta is a city of 394,107 people. As the city prepares to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, many efforts are focused on redeveloping what are known as Olympic Neighborhood Impact Areas
. The city already has a Comprehensive Development Plan that includes much of the planning required by the Consolidated Plan. Sixty percent of households have low or very low income, and most of the wealth and income is concentrated among the 20 percent
of the households that earn more than $50,000. More than one-third of Atlanta households earn less than $15,000 annually and the median household income in the city was $22,275 in 1990. Fifty-nine percent of Atlanta households are African-American, 3 pe
rcent are other minorities, and 38 percent are white. Whites and African-Americans are segregated spatially, with whites living mostly on the north side of the city, and African-Americans primarily on the south side. Twenty percent of the population is
65 years of age or older.
Like many central cities, Atlanta is losing population. As the city population decreased 7 percent between 1980 and 1990, the population increased in the surrounding suburbs. Many jobs have migrated from the city to the suburbs. Furthermore, structu ral changes in the local economy are resulting in reductions of low-skill jobs, making it difficult for many persons with limited educational experience to find employment.
According to the 1990 census, Atlanta has 182,754 housing units, 85 percent of which are occupied. The housing stock is evenly distributed among single-family and multifamily units, although Atlanta is a city of renters. In 1990, 57 percent of all inha bited units were renter-occupied and 42 percent were owner-occupied. While most owner-occupied units were large (66 percent had three or more bedrooms), most rental units were small (41 percent were efficiencies or one-bedroom units, another 41 percent we re two-bedroom units).
While Atlanta's housing stock is generally old, 80 percent of the units are in standard condition, meaning that they meet local codes. One-fifth of all housing--occupied and vacant--is substandard; approximately 20 percent of all rental units and 16 p ercent of owner-occupied units are substandard. The city's Department of Housing estimates that of the 35,785 substandard units, approximately 32,320 (17 percent of total housing units) are suitable for rehabilitation.
Housing values in the city have steadily increased since 1970. The current median value of an owner-occupied unit is $71,200 and the median rent is $342, both lower than for the metropolitan area as a whole.
Affordable housing in Atlanta is provided primarily through rental units, especially as single-family housing prices have increased over the past two decades. However, the production of new affordable rental units has not kept up with demand. Of the new multifamily housing built, most is out of reach for low-income residents. Twenty-eight percent of extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households have housing cost burdens that are 50 percent of income or higher, and 55 percent of this populatio n have housing cost burdens of 30 percent or more.
Applying the statistical guidance from "Priority Home," the city estimated that African-Americans are the largest racial group among the homeless (87 percent), followed by whites (12 percent). Women with children are the biggest household group (46 per cent), followed by single men (25 percent), single women (13 percent), and couples with children (10 percent). The city of Atlanta estimates that almost 12,000 persons are homeless in the Atlanta metropolitan area on any given night.
In a separate city survey of homeless service providers, the respondents were questioned on their services, priorities, and client needs. The areas of service that were perceived to be most in need of funding by the service agencies were case managemen t, operational support, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, employment services, financial aid for clients, and affordable housing.
Supportive housing for persons with special needs in Atlanta is minimal and inadequate. Long-term and permanent facilities are needed for the elderly, frail elderly, persons with mental illness, those with developmental and physical disabilities, and substance abusers. Such facilities should include transitional housing, single room occupancy units, and residential treatment facilities for the chronically mentally ill, the handicapped, and the terminally ill. Health and social service support are ne eded for all supportive housing facilities.
In the Atlanta metropolitan area, 7,227 cases of AIDS have been diagnosed as of March 1994. The following needs were recently listed as priorities by Atlanta HIV/AIDS service providers: housing, financial assistance, medical care, food/nutrition, coun seling/support groups, public education, transportation, and legal assistance.
The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) is one of the largest public housing agencies in the country, managing 14,416 public housing units. Almost 70 percent of public housing units have two bedrooms or less. The vacancy rate is 16 percent, in part the re sult of the many existing units undergoing significant rehabilitation. The authority is also working to convert some units to be accessible to persons with disabilities. AHA has 6,719 families on its waiting list, but most are waiting for Section 8 renta l assistance. The authority administers 5,890 Section 8 certificates and vouchers, and offers Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation assistance to 435 households. In addition, the AHA Homebuyers Program has placed 568 persons into 145 units of owner-occupied housing.
Some of the barriers to the development of new affordable housing units include: inadequate venture capital, construction loans, and permanent financing; limited development capacity of nonprofits to produce housing; high development costs; increased l and costs attributable to commercial development; and the need for a standardized and simplified system for financing and delivering affordable housing. An additional problem is that financial institutions seem reluctant to finance multifamily and housin g for special needs populations, particularly if they are to be located on the south side of Atlanta.
An estimated 58 percent of all housing units in Atlanta contain lead-based paint. Approximately 55 percent of those potentially contaminated units are rentals. It is suspected that a significant number of units with lead-based paint are occupied by v ery low- income households.
Infrastructure improvements (drainage, streets, sidewalks, solid waste disposal), public facilities (senior centers, child care centers, parks/recreation), public services (substance abuse programs, employment training, child care, services for seniors , youth, and the handicapped), economic development (commercial industrial rehabilitation, commercial industrial infrastructure, micro-business loans), and planning are all high-priority community development needs. From now until Atlanta hosts the 1996 S ummer Olympic Games, many community development efforts will be focused on the improvement of Olympic Neighborhood Impact Areas.
The city of Atlanta government has the primary responsibility for carrying out its Comprehensive Development Plan and its Consolidated Plan. City agencies will be working closely with other governmental, quasi-governmental, and nonprofit housing agenci es such as the Atlanta Housing Authority, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, and the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board.
Weaknesses in the service delivery system have been identified in the Empowerment Zone Strategic Plan, and include such needs as the need for one-stop-shops in human services and employment services, coordinated drug abuse rehabilitation services, and
promotion of more and stronger community-based organizations.
Housing objectives are to expand the supply of affordable housing for very low-, low-, and moderate income-persons including renters, homeowners, and public housing tenants; assist those with special needs (such as the disabled) and first time home buy ers; further fair housing efforts; and support code enforcement. Code enforcement has been identified as a high priority need.
For the homeless, objectives include improvements to facilities that provide comprehensive services; priority services for homeless families with children, minors, and the mentally handicapped; provision of supportive services directed to long-term imp acts; and support to year-round programs. High priority has been assigned to all types of homelessness needs.
For persons with AIDS, primary recipients will be those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Resources will be dispersed so that services can be provided in home communities, 15 percent of allocations will be set aside for programs outsid e Fulton and DeKalb Counties. About one-third of funding will be used for emergency assistance.
HOME program funding will emphasize rehabilitation of both owner-occupied and rental housing affordable to low- and very low-income persons, assistance to investors to acquire and rehabilitate multifamily housing projects citywide that will be affordab le to low-and very low-income persons, and general assistance to nonprofit and for-profit development corporations.
Economic development priorities are activities which benefit low/moderate income persons through job creation and business development, incentives to encourage private sector investment in low/moderate income neighborhoods, and development of commercia l districts within targeted neighborhoods.
Environmental and community facility priorities are for new or improved facilities and infrastructure in underserved areas, with an emphasis on facilities with secure long-term funding, capital projects which have major impact, and preservation or revi talization activities in low/moderate income neighborhoods.
Social services priorities are to coordinate programs so as to maximize impact and minimize duplication of effort; to support programs that maximize non-city resources; to provide supportive services for youth, elderly, homeless, and disabled persons; to support programs with major impact for recipients; and to expand opportunities for persons to become self-supporting and to improve their quality of life.
Handicapped accessibility and historic preservation of publicly used structures will also be considered a priority.
It has been estimated that addressing housing needs will cost about $441 million, public facility needs will require $169 million, infrastructure improvements will cost $1.5 billion, accessibility improvements $5 million, and economic development and p lanning $112 million.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several sub-areas within the Community Development Impact Area (CDIA) were designated as priority areas for funding consideration. CDIA is made up of those census tracts in which more than half the population is low- or moderate-income. These areas are: 1) the nine low-income neighborhoods which are the most impacted by the staging of the 1996 Olympic Games; 2) the Auburn Avenue area, which encompasses a large part of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Historic District; a nd 3) Southtown, an area composed of most of the southeast quadrant of the city. The city also designated 6 "target neighborhood clusters." All these priorities remain in effect through 1995. For 1996-1999 a new geographic focus will concentrate on cen sus tracts within the CDIA with poverty levels at or above 35 percent. In addition, the city has designated three slum and blight areas--Auburn Avenue, South Central Business District, and Castleberry Hill. It is expected that these three priority areas will remain in effect throughout the 5-year plan.
Allocation of resources will involve Atlanta's citizen participation process, which is based on grouping of the city into 24 Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs). (These are self-defined geographic areas with perceived common characteristics and interes ts.) For example, the city will give preferential funding consideration to homeless programs or facilities located in NPUs with low concentrations of such facilities.
Geographic allocation of resources for business improvement loans will consider whether there is already a core of viable operating businesses and a market for the goods and services to be provided. Under these criteria, 15 small commercial areas are eligible for assistance. The city has also adopted 17 Housing Enterprise Zones and 2 Industrial Enterprise Zones.
For 1995 Atlanta is planning on allocations of about $20 million in CDBG, HOPWA, HOME, and ESG funds. The city has also applied for $6 million for Lead-based Paint Abatement, up to $250 million for Empowerment Zone designation, and $13 million for Sec tion 108 loan guarantees. Other resources include State, local, and private funds. It is the city's policy not to authorize application for Federal resources unless any needed matching funds are identified and confirmed as available.
The City of Atlanta and its development community aggressively pursue Federal, State, and local resources to assist in the production and maintenance of affordable housing. These resources include Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and State Housi ng Trust Fund (administered by the Georgia Housing Finance Authority). The city encourages eligible nonprofit organizations to request funding directly from the State. Priority for city resources is given to projects demonstrating leveraged funding with non-Federal and private resources. The city also can grant tax abatements for qualified affordable housing developments.
The Urban Residential Finance Authority (URFA) issues tax-exempt single family mortgage revenue bonds to provide mortgage loans to eligible home buyers, multifamily housing revenue bonds to provide financing for acquisition and rehabilitation or new co nstruction of multifamily units, and 501(c)3 bonds for loans to nonprofit corporations for housing-related projects. Other financial resources include The Atlanta Mortgage Consortium, Georgia Pacific Corporation's Project Hope, the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, the Metro Atlanta Community Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Equity Fund.
The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) has developed a strategy for the next two years to:
AHA is concentrating much of its efforts on improving the quality of life of public housing residents. It is scheduled to receive Comprehensive Grant Program funds of approximately $25 million each year to accomplish this strategy and promote resident initiatives. The resident initiatives programs will include apprenticeships, business development, self-sufficiency, resident orientation, and resident leadership development.
Atlanta has submitted an application to HUD for participation in the Lead-Based Paint Abatement program. It will select a minimum of 502 units for risk assessment, conduct blood testing, provide community education, and develop and monitor abatement a ctivities.
Atlanta has the ninth highest poverty rate in the Nation, the third highest among central cities of the 40 largest metropolitan areas. It has studied poverty factors and developed 9 goals relating to nutrition, housing, education, child care, transpor tation, health care, employment opportunities, and services for elderly persons. The city has further developed policies that include advocacy to provide health and welfare services, coordination of services, prevention strategies, opportunities to achie ve economic self-sufficiency, and partnerships with private sector nonprofit groups.
In conjunction with preparation of its Zone application, Atlanta developed an Empowerment Zone Strategic Plan that proposed the "reinvention of City government." This called for the formation of a new Department of Community Development that would mer
ge functions from several existing departments. Its proposed operating philosophy is to empower communities through capacity building, join new partnerships and collaborations, promote self-reliance, and expand resources by leveraging and by increased gr
Projects in the one-year action plan for 1995 are funded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG), and HOPWA programs. Below are some highlights:
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).