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Beltline announces its largest push ever for affordable housing in fiscal 2020

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Nearly $12 million approved today marks biggest affordable housing budget in project’s history

A scene from at the planned $26 million Madison Reynoldstown.
At the planned Madison Reynoldstown on the Eastside Trail, well over half of 116 rentals are being earmarked for families earning 60 percent of area median income or less.
Rendering via project overview; designs by Praxis 3

The push for protecting affordable housing in some of Atlanta’s most volatile and coveted areas has scored another win, in terms of sheer dollar allocations.

The Atlanta Beltline’s fiscal 2020 housing budget now includes an $11.9 million line-item specifically for affordable housing development, officials with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s office and the Beltline announced today.

That’s a record, they noted.

The amount is part of an overall $45 million Beltline budget—called “historic” in a press release today—that exceeded projections by more than $10 million. The Atlanta Beltline Inc. board of directors officially (and unsurprisingly) approved the numbers today.

The bulk of the city’s commitment—nearly $9 million—will be earmarked for land acquisition and other pre-development, which should allow the Beltline to “influence outcomes for affordability on a larger scale,” for a longer period of time, officials said.

Beltline leadership is on the hook for producing 5,600 affordable housing options by 2030 within the project’s tax allocation district. The target is to keep housing costs affordable for people earning 80 percent of area median income, to last for 15 years.

The Beltline’s Southside Trail corridor, as seen prior to track removal in early 2018. Beltline officials want to secure affordable housing near the trail before it gets built out.
Curbed Atlanta

The Beltline and Invest Atlanta, as of late 2018, had helped create 1,642 affordable units near trails, according to the Beltline’s Affordable Housing Working Group established last year.

About 600 more are in the pipeline now, including the Madison Reynoldstown project at the Beltline’s juncture with Memorial Drive.

By the time 2019 ends, officials hope 250 or more of those will be in development or secured within the Beltline portfolio.

Funding for affordability, officials noted, is expected to swell as TAD revenues grow.

Part of the overarching goal is “to truly protect Atlanta’s legacy residents from being priced out of the very communities they built,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in the announcement. To that end, said the mayor, “affordability must be at the forefront of decision-making within every department and initiative.”

The Beltline funding contributes to the mayor’s stated goal of committing $1 billion toward affordable housing in Atlanta before 2026, when a second term would expire.

That would preserve or create roughly 20,000 housing units in a city smeared with the worst income inequality among major U.S. cities.

In late April, the Atlanta Housing Board of Commissioners okayed a $60 million investment toward creating and protecting more than 2,000 new affordable units.

That contribution, as officials noted at the time, put the mayor’s administration at 20 percent of its funding goal.