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Atlanta Beltline president: We’re doubling down on affordable housing

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Long a source of frustration for Beltline-adjacent communities, the issue of affordability is back in the spotlight

Eastside Trail construction between two pricey neighborhoods, Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park, as seen in May.
Curbed Atlanta

The president and CEO of the Atlanta Beltline, Paul Morris, announced last week the organization will “double down” on efforts to promote affordable housing along the trail.

CBS46 reported on the remarks, which follow years of criticism from many sides over what’s been perceived as a lack of commitment to supporting affordability along Atlanta’s most popular urban amenity.

Part of a larger trend of waning affordability in intown neighborhoods, the Beltline-based concerns are exacerbated by the thus-far-hollow promises by the project’s leaders of ensuring workforce units will be available along the trail.

Few have been delivered, as outlined by a searing AJC report earlier this summer.

New efforts, like the Westside Future Fund, are aimed at keeping longtime residents in their homes, by helping to cover escalating tax bills as valuations increase. With the success of the program, it could potentially be extended along the planned 22 miles of Beltline.

Additionally, the Beltline team is trying to get ahead of new developments to ensure they include affordable components.

While the news is welcome for anyone concerned about being priced out of longtime homes, it’s being met with measured skepticism. Many who live on the Westside, where the trail is slated to fully pass through in the next few years, are worried that a boom like that experienced in Eastside Trail neighborhoods could still affect them.

To this point, Morris self-graded himself at a “C” for promoting affordability on the Beltline, according to the AJC. Time will tell if Morris’ renewed efforts will be enough to raise the grade.