— Press Release

NEW: Stacey Abrams Introduces Comprehensive Plan to Tackle Georgia’s Housing Crisis 

ATLANTA – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, introduced a comprehensive plan to address Georgia’s housing crisis. Her plan will work to address the four central housing challenges that too many of Georgia’s families face in urban, suburban, and rural communities every day: unaffordability of homes for too many households, shrinking inventory of housing, displacement of longtime residents due to gentrification, and the preventable tragedy of homelessness.

“I am committed to helping our families keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Yet, Georgia’s housing crisis is impacting families of every background and in every region. Shelter is one of the most basic of requirements; and for too many Georgians, they are days away from eviction, foreclosure or worse,” said Stacey Abrams. “The lack of affordable housing and available housing in our state disrupts education, increases crime and weakens the economy. Some are losing their apartments, and others cannot afford to buy their first home. I am the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to address Georgia’s housing crisis. The current governor seems oblivious to what is happening from Atlanta to Valdosta to Augusta, and he has yet to deploy over $450 million in federal funds to stop evictions and keep families whole. We can build One Georgia, without raising a dollar in taxes, where hardworking Georgians have access to stable, safe and affordable housing and the opportunity to thrive.” 

A significant driver of the affordable housing crisis in Georgia is the limited inventory of reasonably priced, safe, habitable homes and rentals. Across our state, corporations and hedge funds are buying large amounts of property from Albany to Alpharetta to Savannah and beyond. Out-of-state purchases drive up housing costs and prevent everyday Georgians from buying homes. In addition, these purchases often result in the redevelopment of existing properties to primarily target affluent households, which leads to rapidly rising home prices, property taxes, rental prices, and the displacement of longtime neighborhood residents. As evictions increase, so too does crime, food insecurity, and student displacement that costs the rest of Georgians more.

As the next Governor of Georgia, Stacey will directly tackle the affordable housing crisis in our state and focus on the four central challenges impacting Georgians across the state: the unaffordability of homes for too many households; the shrinking inventory of housing; displacement of longtime residents due to gentrification; and the preventable tragedy of homelessness. See Stacey’s full plan here.


Increase Affordability

  • Expand the GA DREAM Program, which helps first-time homeowners through affordable financing, down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and homebuyer education.  Ensure we are maximizing the use of federal funds to increase support for first-time homebuyers and allocate funds from our state surplus as necessary to jumpstart participation.
  • Establish affordability and duration standards for developments benefiting from state support via tax advantages enabled by state law (such as tax allocation districts).
  • Fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund at ten times the current level (increase from $3M to $32M) and explore a dedicated revenue source.
  • Amend the Georgia Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of source of income.
  • Empower local governments to protect homeowners and tenants, including local fair housing ordinances or tenant protections such as requiring inspections of single-family rental homes. 

Expand Inventory and Habitability

  • Create a separate property tax class for qualifying affordable housing projects, which will enable localities to offer additional tax incentives for the creation of affordably priced units.
  • Permit local governments to increase the stock of affordable units:
    • Enable governments to identify and tap local revenue sources to fund affordable housing, including development impact fees or required compensation for people displaced by new development.
    • Clarify that localities are allowed to adopt inclusionary zoning rules that meet their local needs and promote economic diversity.
  • Empower localities to enforce rental code safety requirements. 
  • Provide landlords with tax incentives for making safety and energy efficient based improvements to their property, such as lighting, architectural and security repairs.

Protecting Against Gentrification

  • Create a Circuit Breaker permanent fund, using SLFRF and/or state surplus funds, to finance property tax deferments for low- and moderate-income households facing rapidly rising property taxes. Property tax increases for these households will be deferred until the property is sold and capped at the amount of the property’s appreciation. 
  • Co-invest in financing programs to enable residents to buy homes when rental units are converted into ownership units.
  • Acquire, preserve, and maintain naturally occurring affordable housing and use the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to help sustain legacy residents in gentrifying neighborhoods.
  • Enable local governments to use development impact fees to finance affordable housing or require compensation for people displaced by new development.

Homelessness

  • Create a comprehensive, statewide plan to address homelessness, with a specific focus on veteran, disabled, and formerly incarcerated individuals facing housing instability or homelessness. This type of cross-sector collaboration has proven successful in other states by working with nonprofits, localities and state and federal agencies. 
  • Accelerate the distribution of more than $450 million of unspent federal money for emergency rental assistance by the Department of Community Affairs.
  • Champion law enforcement diversion programs that redirect people experiencing homelessness from jail and provide extensive access to services, similar to the Atlanta Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative.
  • Increase appropriations for the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless and the Georgia Housing Voucher Program. These are programs that support homeless, mentally ill, and disabled Georgians.
  • Protect tenants from summary eviction by requiring a notice period during which tenants can cure any violations and establishing a reasonable cause requirement for eviction. 
  • Establish a judicial foreclosure process in Georgia, which will reduce the rate of foreclosures and make Georgia a less attractive target for unscrupulous sellers of high-cost subprime mortgages. 


View Stacey Abrams’ entire plan here.

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