HouseATL is an open taskforce comprised of public, private, non-profit, and philanthropic leadership that has engaged more than 200 civic leaders and 80+ organizations committed to building the political and community will for a comprehensive and coordinated housing affordability action plan in the City of Atlanta. We have defined the problems, identified the barriers to success, and engaged in thoughtful problem-solving so that civic leadership in the City of Atlanta will have a shared, comprehensive set of policies and adequate funding to address housing affordability.

Beginning in January 2018, HouseATL began meeting monthly at The Gathering Spot for two-hour sessions on key issues and solutions. The taskforce is governed by an Executive Committee, who also meets monthly to direct the taskforce priorities and recommendations. The composition of the Executive Committee is purposefully aligned with complementary initiatives, including but not limited to the Mayor’s Progressive Agenda Working Group, the BeltLine Affordable Housing Taskforce, the City of Atlanta Equitable Housing Needs Assessment, and ULI Atlanta’s Livable Communities Council. Members of the Executive Committee and Support Partners can be found under the ‘Who Is Involved’ tab.

Working Groups

Among the 200 taskforce participants, about 75 of those individuals formed five working groups to do ‘deep-dives’ and develop S.M.A.R.T. recommendations on specific issues around affordable housing production, preservation, and community retention.

The working groups

  1. Community retention and anti-displacement
  2. Preserving existing affordable housing
  3. Scaling strategies and resources for under 50% AMI
  4. Utilizing public resources for production
  5. Harnessing the power of private resources to increase production and fill funding gaps.

As a commitment to cross-sector collaboration, equity, and inclusion, HouseATL’s core recommendations surfaced from its five working groups.

HouseATL’s process

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution – Albert Einstein

HouseATL went into great detail to ensure we were defining the problems and identifying barriers. The taskforce utilized an exercise developed by the Center for Civic Innovation that helps identify the problem and vision statements.

A problem statement is designed to include the following elements:

  1. [Statement of fact] because of [reasons that fact is assumed to be true, rooted either in perception or data]
  2. As a result [outcomes]
  3. You then invert this statement and it becomes a VISION statement

The full problem and vision statement for HouseATL was:

Problem Statement:Civic leadership in the city of Atlanta lacks a shared, comprehensive set of policies and adequate funding to address housing affordability.

What are the barriers/because?

  1. It is a complicated subject matter, with a lack of knowledge and understanding.
  2. There is a lack of community consensus and political will.
  3. We lack flexible, robust local funding.
  4. Efforts to address are not coordinated among various stakeholders.

As a result/outcomes:

  1. We are among the worst cities in the US for economic mobility and income disparity.
  2. Low income Atlantans lives are harder (health, education, housing stability, access).
  3. We are losing the ‘social mosaic’ of the city.
  4. We are at risk of losing our ‘affordable’ economic competitive advantage.
  5. We have a flat or declining amount of affordable housing stock.
  6. Residents are being displaced from the city.

Vision: Civic leadership in the City of Atlanta has a shared, comprehensive set of policies and adequate funding to address housing affordability.

Each of the 5 working groups completed the problem and vision statement exercise to help guide the recommendations process. Those can be found in the introduction section of the full recommendations. This exercise leveraged research, national best practices, and included the input and expertise of its diverse membership.

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