Mayor Andre Dickens Announces $1,400,000 Investment in Two Key Housing Programs

Staff Report

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Mayor Andre Dickens announced the investment of $1,400,000 from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create a Housing Help Center and expand the Mayor’s Safe and Secure Housing Program.

“Creating affordable housing isn’t just about building new housing—I am committed to meeting our city’s families where they already are with the help they need,” said Mayor Dickens. “The Housing Help Center and Safe and Secure Housing Program are critical components for a healthy affordable housing ecosystem, and I am proud to lead a City that invests in supporting not just construction—but people.

Of the $1.4 million, $600,000 will be used to launch the new Housing Help Center. The Center will be a one-stop shop for Atlanta residents seeking affordable housing resources. Many of these resources are currently decentralized, making it difficult for households to search, identify and access the services that can help them.

In addition to connecting residents with properties offering income-restricted housing, the Center will also provide a comprehensive list of other housing resources like owner-occupied rehab and access to legal counsel. The Center will help residents report violations of the City’s Housing Code so the City can take action.

The Housing Help Center will be physically located at City Hall, and virtually via a website and hotline. The Center is currently hiring staff and is expected to launch by the end of this summer.

The remaining $800,000 will expand a dedicated litigation team at the Office of the City Solicitor, focused on investigating and prosecuting nuisance property violations and cases as part of the Safe and Secure Housing Program.  

The Safe and Secure Housing program began last summer to identify, track, inspect and obtain compliance on violations at occupied multi-family properties with substandard living conditions and high crime. 

Currently, there are more than 50 properties within city limits the City has flagged as high-priority due to the number of code violations and violent crime. Of those, 16 properties are currently in process, and with the additional funding, the program will accelerate the number of actions pursued over the next year.

These actions include joint agency inspection details to document the existence of violations at the property, criminal citations against non-corporate ownership and civil litigations against corporate owners, including in rem actions like nuisance and judicial in rem. In some instances, the property owner may voluntarily enter into a settlement agreement with the City to address the violations and/or security issues.