Who we are

Our organizations advocate for what we refer to as an “inclusionary housing program” which ensures affordable housing is available to people of low, moderate and fixed incomes. Knowing that in order to maintain and expand diversity in the City of Decatur and County of DeKalb, 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

diverse dekalb

Our organization formed during the zoning application for LDG’s Phoenix Station, which is adjacent to the Kensington Marta Station, in the summer of 2018. 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, we realized our energy and efforts needed to persist past this one application and with the already existing Diverse Decatur’s blessing, we spun off our own group focused on county level advocacy.

diverse decatur

In the fall of 2017, a pair of local residents circulated a paper entitled “Decatur inclusionary housing proposal” and announced they were looking for a group with which to organize around the issue. Members of the Affordable Housing Task Group of Create Community 4 Decatur: Black Lives Matter (CC4D:BLM) suggested that we might work together. We scheduled two meetings at Oakhurst Baptist Church in early November, and we invited members from other groups with a concern for affordable housing within the City of Decatur. At the meetings we heard about studies that the City of Decatur commissioned, and then shared ideas and concerns from the participants.

Attendance at the two meetings totaled around three dozen people, with people from at least a dozen organizations and faith communities, including CC4D:BLM, Better Together, Better Living Together, Hate Free Decatur, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, and several local faith communities. It was clear from the discussion that we all valued affordable housing, and yet we 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 include 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 recognized the need for an educational forum for ourselves and for the Decatur community at large. We focused on the City of Decatur. 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.

As a Coalition of independent groups, we brought together people who would not have otherwise crossed paths. The groups united over the affordable housing crisis in Georgia and in the City of Decatur in particular. Out of the 1,500 residential new units in our city from 2004-2019, only 21 were affordable.

In the following years, the Coalition has built momentum. The coalition caught the attention of our city commissioners as it became obvious that we are serious about the topic, meeting regularly as a group, and engaging with the city around the topic in a constructive and realistic manner.

leadership

Diverse DeKalb Chair
Sara Patenaude

Diverse Decatur Chair
Phillip Cuffey

Secretary
Annie Godfrey


Steering Committee
Paula Collins
Emily Halevy
Martha Jackson
David Lewicki
Panke Miller
Frank Windom


Advisory Task Force
Frank Alexander
Katie Crippen
Sara Haas
Bambie Hayes-Brown
Geoff Koski
Kate Little
Jessica McFarland
Chris Norman
Andrea Rattray
Sharon Steele
Sara Toering
Jon Toppen
Lisa Wise

contact us

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