Our Work

The Coalition for a Diverse Decatur & Dekalb advocates for an inclusionary-housing program that ensures affordable housing is available to people of low-, moderate- and fixed- incomes. Knowing that to maintain and expand diversity in the City of Decatur and DeKalb County, we support housing solutions which include:

  • Affordability for a range of incomes
  • Expanded options for people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities
  • Access to transportation and business centers that help support sustainable, healthy lifestyles

Our Story

In fall 2017, two Decatur residents circulated a paper, “Decatur inclusionary housing proposal” and announced they were forming a group focusing on affordable, inclusionary housing. Members of Create Community 4 Decatur: Black Lives Matter (CC4D:BLM)’s Affordable Housing Task Group suggested that these two organizations work together. Two meetings took place at Oakhurst Baptist Church in early November 2017 to discuss the lack of affordable housing in the City of Decatur and plans to address the issue.

Nearly 40 people, representing at least a dozen faith-based communities and other organizations, including CC4D:BLM, Better Together, Better Living Together, Hate Free Decatur, and Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights attended. We all valued affordable housing and yet had diverse points of view and needs. Individuals were concerned about 
workforce housing,

  • lower income housing,
  • community housing that includes those with special needs,
  • and senior housing. 

Common goals included translating our commitment into meaningful action and supporting one another across our particular concerns. At the time, MARTA was seeking community input on plans for a development at the East Lake MARTA Station, and the City of Decatur was developing a process for input on uses for the newly purchased United Methodist Children’s Home property (now known as Legacy Park). We also realized the need to educate ourselves and the Decatur community at large. 

We recognized that DeKalb County, as a separate governmental structure with its own zoning, land prices, and so on, needed its own group and hoped to see a parallel group emerge focused on the county. 

In summer 2018, the zoning application for LDG’s Phoenix Station, which is adjacent to the Kensington Marta Station was submitted, facing tremendous opposition from the neighboring community. Panke Miller, Marty Collier and Emily Halevy joined forces and began recruiting support for this development. Through this process, they realized their energy and efforts needed beyond this one application and a Diverse DeKalb was born and focused primarily on county-level advocacy.  

Diverse Decatur and Diverse DeKalb held joint meetings, focusing on educating members and the community about affordable housing. Like most volunteer organizations, the pandemic took its toll on both organizations. Although advocacy and education continued, meetings occurred less frequently. In fall 2022, Diverse Decatur and Diverse DeKalb met in person for the first time in roughly two years. Both organizations agreed to reunite as one coalition that focused on affordable housing in both DeKalb County and the City of Decatur. The organization officially became The Coalition for a Diverse Decatur & DeKalb. 

In 2023 the Coalition was instrumental in getting Missing Middle zoning — duplexes, triplexes and quads — reinstated in the City of Decatur. The hope is that more diverse housing options will make living in Decatur more attainable for teachers, city staff, growing families and retirees. 


Diverse DeKalb & Decatur Co-Chairs
Carrie Sjogren
Wendy Cromwell

Annie Godfrey

Steering Committee
Paula Collins
Emily Halevy
David Lewicki
Phil Cuffey
Beate and Tim Sass

contact us

Have questions? Want to volunteer or contribute? Reach out to us today!