The city of Atlanta is now pursuing $200 million in new funding for affordable housing.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms originally proposed $100 million in the form of tax-exempt bonds in February. But the administration told council members this week that it believes it can double that amount.
The $200 million would go toward a number of affordable housing efforts. Those include helping developers build apartment units available to people making 60% or less of the area median income, or a four-person family making about $47,000 a year or less.
The funding would also help homeowners fix up their properties, allow the city to buy land for affordable housing construction and back permanent supportive housing for those who are experiencing homelessness.
Atlanta City Council members agreed to take up the funding at their next council meeting, which wouldn’t be until April 20.
The Community Development and Human Services Committee unanimously recommended the legislation. The finance committee moved the paper to full council without recommendation.
Some council members questioned whether the city could afford the bonds, given the economic uncertainty from the coronavirus. But they expected that by mid-April, the city would have a better idea of how the current pandemic would affect Atlanta’s budget.
The administration said, as of right now, it still wanted to move forward with the bond purchase agreement despite the concerns from the COVID-19 virus, which continues to spread in Atlanta and around the country.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic of the nature we’ve never seen before,” said Terri Lee, the city’s chief housing officer. “But what I will tell you and commit to you is that the fundamentals have not changed. Housing affordability is still an issue.”
According to the current funding structure, the city would agree to no-interest payments for two years. The hope, according to Chief Financial Officer Roosevelt Council, is that the economy and the city’s revenues will have recovered by the third year.
The city would not enter into the $200 million bond purchase agreement until June. The administration said that will give Atlanta time to make sure the market is favorable for the bond agreement. If it is not, the City Council legislation allows Atlanta to adjust the funding amount.