As an entitlement County for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the HOME Investment Partnerships programs, and the (ESGP) Emergency Shelter Grant Program, DeKalb County developed a Consolidated Plan that would provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expend economic development opportunities for small businesses and citizens of DeKalb County.
The Consolidated Plan was developed with comments from citizens regarding
priority needs, County departments, Community Development staff, the Community
Development Advisory Council and elected officials. Two public hearings and one
technical assistance workshop was held during the development of the
DeKalb County is proud to have the fastest growing international population in the southeastern United States. We have the largest and most cultural diverse international community in the state of Georgia. DeKalb has historically been the location of choice for international business investment.
DeKalb County's population has grown by 31.40 percent during the period 1970-1990; from 415,387 to 545,837 persons, a gain of 130,450. The eastern and southeastern areas of the county have seen the highest percentage of growth, approximately an 87 percent increase for the period. DeKalb's racial makeup has changed dramatically from the 1970's to the 1990's. In 1970 the non-white population was 14 percent of the total, in 1990 it was 48 percent. The Black population grew 142 percent between 1970 and 1990 and the Asian population grew by 276 percent between 1980 and 1990. Other racial groups and persons of Hispanic origin grew by a combined total of 139 percent between 1980 and 1990.
In 1990, DeKalb County ranked second in total population to Fulton County in the ten county metro region. Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton Counties ranked third, fourth, and fifth respectively. While some smaller counties within the region have more than doubled or tripled in population since 1970, DeKalb County has consistently maintained its position as the second most populated county in the region and state since 1970. Between 1970 and 1990, DeKalb County had the second lowest growth rate, however, it had the third largest increase in the new residents, behind Gwinnett and Cobb.
Overall, population growth in DeKalb County is decreasing inside municipal
boundaries and increasing in unincorporated areas. Incorporated areas such as
Chamblee, Decatur, Doraville, and Pine Lake have lost population since 1970.
However, areas such as Avondale Estates, Clarkston, Lithonia, and Stone Mountain
have seen growth within the municipal boundaries. This growth can be attributed
to annexation of residential areas and/or development of infill housing,
specifically in Stone Mountain and Avondale Estates.
The Action Plan covers activities to be undertaken during a 1 year period of time beginning January 1, 1996, with funds expected to be available under the CDBG, HOME and ESGP programs. The County expects to utilize CDBG funds totaling $3,666,728 and HOME totaling $1,227,100 and ESGP totaling $178,800. Below is a description of key projects:
Monitoring activities are carried out by the DeKalb County Community
Overall, the development of DeKalb County as one of Atlanta's post-war suburban communities is reflected in the age breakdowns of the housing stock. Approximately one half of the county's housing stock was constructed after 1970 and almost 90% has been constructed since 1950. As a result, DeKalb boasts many established and mature single family residential neighborhoods.
Data collected in a 1977 housing conditions study completed by the DeKalb County Planning Department stated that approximately 11.2% of the single family homes in the county were classified as "considered to be of less than average construction qualify." Based on this study, it is expected that approximately 19,400 poorly constructed units may soon require substantial repair.
While the overall, housing stock in DeKalb County is healthy and relatively new in age, there is a need to begin to renovate and maintain existing single family homes and apartment complexes as the housing stock grows older. It is also important that housing codes be enforced to ensure that current housing conditions are improved and maintained.
Current housing needs data for DeKalb County defines cost burdens to be greatest for lower income households as well as for all other income categories and household types. African- American households have lower incomes and fewer of these minority households (40%) have incomes greater than 95% of County median family income when compared to the white population (64%).
Other variables which reflect trends which hold potential to significantly impact on County housing needs include the high levels of black in-immigration and corresponding white out- migration. The County population continues to grow slightly due to increases in African- American in-immigration. However, this population has lower average household incomes than their white counterpart, a fact which may increase needs for housing assistance responses to new and changing needs and demands. The rental vacancies have decreased dramatically during the past two years signaling tighter and probably costlier rental markets which also may require new County responses to change rental housing availability and related rising assisted housing costs.
Overall, Dekalb County's housing stock appears to be sufficiently diversified. Future trends such as the decreasing average household size, suggest that there will continue to be a demand for smaller housing units. With approximately 50.1% of the Dekalb County housing stock having been constructed in the last 20 years, the age and condition of the majority of the homes in Dekalb County should be satisfactory for the next twenty years. However, there will be a need to continue to enforce the housing code to ensure that properties are maintained and periodically upgraded. Despite a fairly equal distribution of housing values and rents, there is a need to continue to provide affordable housing for low and moderate income households and to address the housing needs of special populations such as the homeless, the elderly, the mentally ill, the drug or alcohol addicted and persons afflicted with AIDS.
In DeKalb County, 40% (79,258) of all households (196,595) are renters, there are 117,337 owner households. Of the renters, there are 23,815 very low income (0% to 50% median family income) households roughly half of those earn below 30% of the area MFI and two- thirds of those, or 8,771 households, pay greater than 50% of their incomes for housing. This represents approximately 11% of all renter households.
Among owners, there are 13,337 very low income households and as with renters roughly half have incomes below 30% of the MFI. Of those, about half or 3,500 have sever housing cost burdens. Very low income (30% MFI) small family, renter households have the highest number (3,461) households with severe cost burdens. Among very low (30% MFI) elderly, owner households, those with severe cost burdens the elderly represent 42% (1,377).
While the elderly represent only 7,022 (9%) of the total 79,258 rental households, roughly half experience housing problems, mostly associated with cost. While the elderly households are roughly 20% of all owner households, they are less inclined, that elderly renters as a whole to have housing problems.
Generally, the 1990 Census shows that cost related housing problems to be concentrated among the very lot income households especially small family renters.
The Task Force for the Homeless has estimated the 1996 homeless population at 3,273, of which 1,279 were in shelter. While these figures represent a decline from 1993 conditions, the 1995 intake data transfer shows a return to previous levels of homelessness. The largest portion (74%) of the homeless population on DeKalb are in families, most women with children (64%). The providers of shelters, transitional housing, and support services don't have adequate resources to meet the current and growing need of homeless people as evidenced by the large number of unsheltered persons. As previously discussed, there is a large number (8,771) of households with incomes below 30% of the even median who pay more than 50% of their incomes for housing costs. These households are on the verge of homelessness and rising housing costs will only increase their number.
There are 15 agencies providing 297 emergency shelter beds in DeKalb and 15 agencies providing 262 transition housing units - many of these serve special populations such as person in recovery, mentally ill, victims of domestic violence, etc. There are 14 agencies providing outreach, intake, assessment and supportive services in DeKalb to homeless persons. In addition, there are seven agencies involved in giving persons at risk of homelessness and one agency which provides permanent housing for 23 persons with terminal AIDS.
This population of clients requires a continuum of care that includes health, mental health, and social welfare in addition to meeting housing needs. The continuum of care process required by the FY '95 SNAPA Super NOFA provided an opportunity for metropolitan area local governments to consolidate their planning and priorities. Information, data, and staff resources were consolidated to provide applicant agencies with a coordinated documentation of needs, resources, priorities, linkages and gaps in services.
Conventional public housing in DeKalb County consists of five developments for a total of 1,066 units of 16% of the total assisted units in the County. The Lithonia Housing Authority conventional public housing inventory is composed of 75 units, 14 BR, 24 2BR, 21 3 BR, 13 4 BR and 3 5 BR units and has no vacancies and anticipates no rehabilitation.
The Housing Authority of DeKalb County, the Decatur Housing Authority and the Lithonia Housing Authority anticipates no losses to their current conventional public housing inventory.
The conventional Public Housing waiting list for both the Decatur and DeKalb Housing Authorities remain open at all times. There are 877 applicants on the Decatur waiting list and 601 on the Dekalb list.
The Housing Authority of the City of Decatur and the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb are separate and distinct entities. However, both Authorities determined that it would be in the best interest of the residents to consolidate management and operations while retaining their autonomy.
The Authorities currently maintain reserves well above HUD requirements and currently have no outstanding audit or monitoring findings.
Relevant public policies which support affordable housing in Dekalb County heavily influence the development, maintenance, and improvements of affordable housing. The term "Public Policies" includes policies embodied in DeKalb County's ordinances, codes, regulations, constitutional authority, and administrative procedures. The identification, description, and assessment of public policies which affect affordable housing involved interviews with housing providers, public officials, and a review of research documents and working papers which addressed affordable housing issues.
DeKalb County's impediments to Fair Housing has been conducted by Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc. The analysis includes:
Based on code enforcement complaints and inspections over the past several years and based on assessment of complaints received in the Division of Environmental Health, very few houses in DeKalb county have a lead-based paint hazard problem. However, an assessment of housing by age criteria by region estimates that 44% of all low income housing in DeKalb County has lead-based paint.
DeKalb County has a long history of coordination among public and assisted
housing providers, health, social agencies and governmental entities. We have
worked through community action planning models to engage these agencies in
meaningful dialogue and planning. Through the Community Development Advisory
Council, we will continue to hold task force sessions regarding strategic
planning, as we will continue to work close with the local public housing
authority to post information flyers for up coming meetings at all public
housing community centers. The Housing Counseling seminars will continue to
encourage public housing residents of homeownership opportunities.
DeKalb County's Strategic Plan seeks to strengthen partnerships with jurisdictions to extend and strengthen partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector, including for-profit and non-profit organizations, to enable them to provide decent housing, establish and maintain a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for every American, particularly for very low-income and low-income persons. In an effort to expand economic opportunities all non-profit agencies participated in a workshop regarding the updated Section 3 regulations. Each non-profit will develop an outreach plan which will address their future needs as it relates to Section 3.
The primary Community Development objective of DeKalb County and the mission of the Community Development Department is the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing, suitable living environments, and expanded economic opportunities, principally for persons of low to moderate income. Toward that end the following goals and long term objectives have been included in the Consolidated Plan:
The DeKalb Enterprise Community (EC) Housing/Community Development Initiatives will focus on the affordable housing needs and responses within the EC communities of Chamblee (census tract 212.04), Scottdale (221), and Southwest DeKalb (235.01).
Over the past several decades, it has become increasingly clear that there is no single cause or cure for the flood of social ills that have overtaken and destroyed the American dream for vast numbers of urban area families and individuals. For that reason, The DeKalb County Affordable Housing Taskforce was established by the Chief Executive Officer in 1987 to examine the needs for affordable housing and develop policies for addressing those needs in a broad comprehensive manner. In response, the Taskforce proposed a wide range of comprehensive policies and objectives to achieve a holistic approach to the provision of affordable housing on several fronts.
First, recognizing that housing needs and conditions vary from community to community, the County should develop housing objectives that address a wide range of needs including: a) the preservation of the existing inventory of affordable housing; b) the new development of an expanded inventory; and c) the replacement of housing lost to non-residential redevelopment deterioration.
Second, understanding that population characteristics vary within communities, housing responses must be developed to meet the unique needs of all residents including: homeowners, renters, homeless persons, and special populations.
Thirdly, in recognition of the need and opportunity to address the non-housing public service needs of low and very low income residents, the County should move to establish linkages with human and social service providers.
Recognizing the importance of housing to the overall health of the County, the development of DeKalb County's affordable housing programs has become the primary mission of the DeKalb County Community Development Department. Evidence of this mission commitment is the increased allocation of CDBG funds to housing activities which in recent years has amounted roughly two-thirds of each years budget.
Also essential to the successful accomplishment of the mission are the mutually supportive partnerships which have been forged with the DeKalb County Housing Authority, Georgia Housing Finance Authority, all incorporated municipalities (except the City of Atlanta), numerous private financial institutions, a large cadre private non-profit housing providers, and many private sector developers.
As a result of these partnerships, a wide range of Affordable Housing programs and services are provided county-wide (except for the City of Atlanta) as the needs dictate.
Most recently, the 1994-1998 DeKalb County Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) prepared and adopted in 1993 provides the basis for Community Housing/Community Development Initiatives, by setting forth four priorities for affordable housing as follows:
Affordable rental housing and supportive services for low income and very low income renter households with housing problems.
Housing assistance which is affordable to homeowners who have very low incomes, low incomes, and low to moderate incomes.
Expand and improve homeless emergency/transition housing and support services.
The provision of housing and support services for special needs populations other than homeless.
DeKalb County's plans to continue its effort in working with youth programs through the youth set aside vouchers. We will continue support to homeless shelters, aid to persons with AIDS, employment, housing counseling and legal assistance.
DeKalb County plays a significant part in the Metropolitan Atlanta area as a jurisdiction that is urban and heavily committed and involved with Atlanta and Fulton county to the health and welfare of all citizens in the region, particularly those in poverty. DeKalb County has invested in MARTA mass transit, contributed heavily to the regional health care delivery for indigent people, in the locus of the two major public mental health facilities in the region and has worked intensely to maintain a high quality public school system. The County sponsors fair housing testing and supports legal services, a public health system and human service entitlement programs for low income households and individuals.
DeKalb sponsors economic development opportunities through the DeKalb Private Industry Council and provides a number of programs to economically disadvantaged DeKalb residents.
The County coordinates housing assistance with PIC job assistance and other supportive services through the Family Self-Sufficiency Program administered by the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb. The purpose of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program is to promote the development of local strategies to coordinate the use of Section 8 rental certificates and voucher assistance with public and private resources and supportive services, in order to enable eligible families to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.
DeKalb County is committed to a holistic approach to housing issues. The Family Self- Sufficiency Program serves as a model for the development of other housing and antipoverty coordinated efforts to be developed during the next three years.
The overall coordination of the housing program lies within the Community Development Department with joint administration within the Housing Authority of DeKalb.
The following is a list of some of the organizations that DeKalb County works close with regarding housing initiatives and strategic planning:
a.) The Atlanta Project which is a local community sponsored human services and housing initiatives which address poverty issues.
b.) Local Development Corporations/Community Development Corporations, non-profit organizations which provide housing services in neighborhoods.
c.) Private non-profit organizations and local consultants which develop, finance, plan, and organize development cost and long term financing for affordable housing.
d.) Habitat for Humanity who constructs affordable family housing and offers zero interest rate loans.
e.) Other organizations include Atlanta Legal Aid, DeKalb Housing Counseling Center, Task Force for the Homeless, Initiative for Affordable Housing, Metro Fair Housing Center, Youth Build of DeKalb, DeKalb County Planning Department and Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC).
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.
TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).