Meeting Notices and Minutes

Coalition meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 at North Decatur Presbyterian Church (NOTE: due to COVID-19, meetings are currently being held over Zoom. Contact Phil Cuffey to receive the Zoom invitation). Meetings are open to the public. Transportation assistance may be provided upon request.

January 19, 2021 Meeting

After our December break, it was great to see everyone together again over Zoom! Our January meeting began with updates from several Coalition members. All updates can be viewed in the full meeting minutes here.

One update to note is that the Coalition has signed on to the Everyone Deserves a Place to Call Home Coalition. Currently, the organization needs help with the following:

1. People with special skills in lobbying, real estate, zoning etc. who can help with this campaign and/or join the committee.

2. Properties in Decatur and DeKalb County, including churches, to house small modular units, mobile homes, trailers, etc.

3. Assistance with securing modifications to Decatur and DeKalb ordinances to allow small modular units for housing.

4. Buildings that can be transformed into tiny efficiency units.

5. City and County residents who are willing to put such a modular unit on their property.

6. Individuals to approach the City of Decatur to do a pilot project of 2 or 3 of these units at Legacy Park with the City providing hook ups to utilities.

You can find more information about A Home for Everyone in DeKalb here.

November 17, 2020 Meeting

Thanks to all who attended our November meeting! We started off with an update from Sara Patenaude covering the Housing Justice League’s work to prevent evictions from extended stay hotels. The league is trying to organize residents to work for tenant rights and property management, as no rights currently exist in Georgia law. Click here to sign a petition advocating for these rights for residents living in Efficiency Lodge, a property owned by former Governor Roy Barnes in Decatur, GA.

David Park, Pastor of Open Table Community Church, joined us to share information about affordable housing at the Doraville Assembly Development. The developer is not currently complying with the 20% of 800 units set aside as affordable. You can read more about the Doraville Assembly Development here, and more about affordable housing in the area at this link

Atticus LeBlanc, CEO and founder of PadSplit, presented an in-depth look into his company’s work. You can view his presentation slides here. A summary of his presentation, along with the full meeting minutes, can be found here.

october 20, 2020 meeting

It was great to see everyone who attended our last meeting over Zoom. You can view the full meeting minutes here

Special thanks to Craig Taylor and Will Styles for speaking with us. Craig Taylor is a developer for affordable housing. He explained that the biggest challenges to affordable housing are property values and public opposition. He is looking for the CDD to help with advocacy for affordable housing. Will Styles serves as the Greater Decatur Block Captain for the Democratic Socialist Party of America. The group is working on canvassing to make renters aware of their rights in the midst of COVID-19. If you are interested in learning more, you can reach out to the group here.

January 14, 2020 MEETING

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our last meeting. It was a rainy night, but a treat to have Bambie Hayes-Brown with GA ACT join us for her legislative rundown. You can find links to the hand-outs here:

The highlights of her presentation included:

  • HR164, which supports a dedicated state-wide housing trust fund
  • Support for increased funding to the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless (and advocating for funds not to be cut with the budget cuts)
  • GA ACT will review how they can support City of Decatur’s strategic plan
  • They are also advocating for census participation, which ties directly to federal aide received.

Housing Day at the Capitol is Wednesday, February 26, 2020- A day of advocacy training and engagement. This event is free, but registration is required and can be found here.

On the Decatur side, Paula gave a brief rundown of the Affordable Housing Task Force’s recommendations.

On the DeKalb side, we are thrilled to have been selected by the Emory Community Building and Social Change Fellows program to focus on updating the Kensington MARTA Station LCI plan, along with a census of existing affordable housing in the area. Our first meeting with the students was Monday, January 27th. If anyone is interested in working with the students, please reach out to Emily.

Sara Patenaude was featured in the Washington Post. Read her editorial on HUD’s new proposed housing rules and how they would deepen segregation here.

  • Introductions
  • Updates on Ongoing Projects: HUD and Better Living Together

Decatur Task Force – held organizing meetings, charged with report by end of calendar year. Created subcommittees.

DeKalb – Thanks to everyone’s persistence with letter writing, email sending and phone calls, we persuaded the commissioners to increase the stated goal in the HUD Consolidated Plan from 400 to 600 units of affordable housing built in the next 5 years. They also confirmed their commitment to reestablishing the DeKalb land bank.

Guest Speaker: Ms. Bambi Hayes-Brown of Georgia ACT ( spoke about 2019 federal and Georgia state housing policy

  • ACT is a statewide membership organization representing non-profit housing and community development organizations. Advocate for more favorable policy, represent non-profit housing and community development organizations. Information resource for public.
  • Georgia housing facts – should be earning almost $40K per year to afford 2 bedroom apartment. Minimum wage does not meet need. 24% of rental housing (336,000) is extremely low income households. Shortage of 204,000 units. In DeKalb need $44K annual income; extremely low income households can afford rent that is one half of average DeKalb rent.
  • Hosts Housing Day at capitol with other organizations
  • Federal legislative summary – monitor National Housing Trust Fund, increase resources for programs serving extremely low income families, ensure Federal disaster relief
  • State budget – increase for state housing vouchers for supportive housing; state match for HUD HomeFirst partnership; State Housing Trust Fund
  • Goals – encourage cities and counties to establish housing trust fund; maximize GA access to federal funding; enable local communities to use incentives; establish fair housing center in SW GA; support disaster relief
  • Training – census; get out the vote; partner with NeighborWorks Training Institute
  • Conference – October 15, Atlanta

Stephe Koontz- City Council of Doraville – one action that we can take immediately is to pass a non-discrimination housing polity; no state-wide protection – only at Federal and local; need to write elected officials to ask them to pass this

Policy and Advocacy Strategy: Decatur & Dekalb

    • 600 units in the HUD Consolidated Plan- how we can help make this happen (Panke thanked group for advocating) – county needs to build capacity, Immergluck (GSU) and Dr. Rich (Emory) allows us to use academic studies, will meet with him about additional analysis, CDD is speculating that community development department is based on one funding source, but there are several other funding sources available – how to get comm dev department to understand there are other options;
    • Reinstating the land bank – reinstating land bank (in consolidated plan), help with IDing properties;
    • Creation of a housing trust fund – Housing Trust Fund – need funding to preserve current properties, how can we help DeKalb implement this? Critical for DeKalb to utilize this funding; Talking to Commission about incentives to developers – what works and what doesn’t, how to reinforce them;
    • Affordable housing position in the county – County proposed housing ombudsman – we would like to have someone to hold developers accountable, market to developers to build in the county and provide education to communities on affordable housing, needs to be cross-program, CDD would like to influence process, maybe suggest outside funding for position or someone on loan (possibly a member of Decide DeKalb ?); Enterprise can provide info on properties to target – looking at South DeKalb, but can expand;
    • Larry Johnson’s housing ordinance from 2009– Larry Johnson wants to re-propose ordinance from 2009 – we should take advantage of his interest, focuses on workforce housing, home ownership, targeted zones for inclusionary zoning – may already have reticence from other commissioners – may need to look at alternative options to inclusionary zoning, like incentives, housing trust fund, etc.
    • Advisory council objectives/task groups – proposed advisory council at last meeting – pursuing this with some Sarah Haas, Lisa Wise, Sara Torring, Bambi Hayes-Brown. Panke thinks we need task groups to focus on land bank, trust fund, ombudsman position, etc. Hope to have advisory group in place this fall.
    • Kathy Gannon wants to have a housing summit; Melvia said it may be added to homelessness summit
    • 17 minute film referenced in last CDD email. Would like to have screening at Banjo Coffee – have community discussion about housing; Second Thought on 88.5 had author on which film was based.

Summarize Action Items and Next Steps

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