- Attending: Catherine Carter, Gail Bell, Lou Reeves, Beate Sasse, Tim Sass, Carol Burgess, Wendy Cromwell, Carrie Sjogren, Alice Weinberg, Paula Collins, Kris Adams, Diana Caplan,
- Moderator: David Lewicki
Recent Decatur successes:
- Mandatory inclusion zoning in Decatur and Atlanta: While not at the percentages we would like, it is a start.
- Missing middle conversation is now more mainstream in Decatur and DeKalb County with more media coverage. Decatur plan is making progress. Opposition has usual concerns often associated with affordable housing (despite missing middle being a diversity in housing play vs. an affordable housing one): decrease in property values, renters not being invested in the community, commercial developers swooping in and building very expensive missing middle housing
- Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) Housing: More money was being allocated to government budgets to support affordable housing during the pandemic; but overall, federal support for housing is still woefully inadequate; the same issue plagues the state of Georgia–insufficient funding
- Land trust: Decatur now has a land trust to work to acquire property like the plot at the corner of Ponce and Commerce; this land can be held “in trust” and preserved as affordable housing
- Government advances: Decatur now has staff member dedicated to affordable housing, Kristin Allen to implement city’s affordable housing initiatives.
- Legacy Park: Affordable Housing development with a focus on equity in the planning stages; development partner is the Decatur Housing Authority.. 300 plus affordable housing units in 2 & 3 story buildings have been approved.
- Atlanta Regional Commission requires 5- and 10-year reviews of all development plans. Finally have the reviews bundled so not updating plans every year.
Recent DeKalb success:
- Affordable Housing conversations happening at County Commission level. It’s disorganized, but it’s taking place.
- The COVID federal funds for affordable housing made a difference in addressing homelessness in the county.
- Warming Centers: The county now has four for the winter, including one in Chamblee and the Methodist Church in Decatur.
- Government advances: newly-elected commissioner Michelle Long has hired a consultant to advise her on affordable house/homelessness issues.
- COVID funds are no longer available for affordable housing: lack of planning at county level for addressing homelessness once the funds ran out. County submitted a federal grant and plans to create a non-congregant shelter, which has individual sleeping rooms vs. one large sleeping area.
- Renter bias: education is our best tool to combat the bias. Conversations with neighbors to educate them. Key question to ask in conversations: “What would I be willing to give up so that my neighbor can live a better life?”
- MARTA Clifton Corridor: Planning is happening for the Lindbergh to Avondale line. This line will present prime areas for affordable housing in our community.
- Land trust: How best to use funds to maximize Decatur’s expensive land to create attainable housing (or more affordable housing)
- East Lake MARTA Station: conversations resuming on developing those parking lots. Prior to pandemic had good conversations with neighbors to reach common understanding to find path forward to incorporating affordable housing in plans.
- Decatur Master Plan update: Need to advocate for where we want to be in the next 10-20 years with affordable housing.
- Legacy Park: Sasses are working to include diversity of mental abilities into plans. Will need coalition’s help with RFP.
- Carrie Sjogren and Wendy Cromwell will serve as moderators who will be responsible for:
- Mapping out meeting schedule for year, including frequency, times and location. Moderators will poll members to determine preferences.
- Setting agenda, including incorporating teachable moment
- Communicating with members through email listserv and website (updating)