Policy / Housing Affordability /
Policy

Housing Affordability

Georgia’s affordable housing crisis means many families cannot find homes to buy or rent that they can afford. Lack of stable, safe and reasonably priced housing hurts all aspects of people’s lives — from education to the economy to crime. 

I am the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to address the four central housing challenges  Georgians face in urban, suburban and rural communities every day. My plan will:

Affordability

Georgia’s working families frequently cannot find affordable homes to buy or rent. To ensure families of all income levels can live in decent housing, I will:

  • Support First-Time Homeowners And Expand The GA DREAM Program.
    • Help first-time homeowners through affordable financing, down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and homebuyer education. 
    • Increase funding support for first-time homebuyers.
  • Dedicate Funding To The Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
    • Fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund at ten times the current level (an increase from $3M to $32M) and explore a dedicated revenue source.
  • Prohibit Discrimination Based On Source Of Income.
    • Amend the Georgia Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination against renters based on their source of income.
  • Empower Local Governments To Protect Homeowners And Tenants.
    • Permit localities to take steps to protect homeowners and tenants, including local fair housing ordinances or protecting tenants by requiring inspections of single-family rental homes.

Inventory and Habitability

A major driver of Georgia’s affordable housing crisis is limited inventory of reasonably priced, safe, and habitable homes and rentals. To increase the supply of all types of housing — not just new luxury apartment buildings — I will introduce and champion legislation that will:

  • Empower Localities To Create A Separate Property Tax Class.
    • Pass legislation that allows localities to 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 local governments to use development impact fees to finance affordable housing or require compensation for people displaced by new development.
    • Clarify that localities are allowed to adopt inclusionary zoning rules to meet their local needs and promote economic diversity.
  • Require Landlords To Provide Safe, Livable Homes.
    • Incorporate a standard of habitability clause into all leases and empower localities to enforce rental code safety requirements.
  • Provide Tax Incentives For Safety And Energy-Efficient Based Rental Improvements.
    • Give tax incentives to landlords for making safety and energy-efficiency improvements to their property (e.g. lighting, architectural and security repairs).

Low-Income Housing

  • Require additional affordability standards for federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects.
    • Require LIHTC projects to serve some households at 40% of the Annual Median Income (AMI) within an area.
    • Ensure the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) prioritizes nonprofit developers using LIHTC. 
    • Require those benefiting from LIHTC to create energy-efficient buildings.
  • Establish affordability and duration standards 
    • Require developments benefiting from state support via tax advantages enabled by state law (such as tax allocation districts) to follow affordability and durations standards set forth.

Gentrification

Recent real estate development has primarily benefited affluent households, leading to a rapid increase in home prices, property taxes, and rental prices. To protect longtime residents from being displaced from gentrifying neighborhoods, I will take the following actions:

  • Create a permanent fund to finance property tax deferments
    • Finance property tax deferments for low- and moderate-income households facing rapidly rising property taxes to act as a circuit breaker. For these owners, property tax increases would be deferred until the property is sold and capped at the amount of the property’s appreciation.
  • Enable residents to buy homes and acquire, preserve and maintain affordable housing 
    • By co-investing in financing programs to help residents buy homes when their rental units are converted into ownership units
    • By acquiring, preserving, and maintaining “naturally occurring affordable housing” — typically older buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Homelessness

Too many Georgian families are experiencing homelessness because of high housing costs, delayed rental assistance, low wages and a shortage of needed support and services. To protect Georgians from homelessness and help people experiencing homelessness find housing, I will take the following actions:

  • Create an overall plan to address homelessness 
    • Prioritize veterans, disabled and formerly incarcerated individuals facing housing instability or homelessness.
  • Provide shelter, support and resources to prevent homelessness
    • Provide more shelter beds for individuals experiencing domestic violence.
    • Support rapid re-housing programs that provide short-term grants to help families move from homelessness into permanent housing.
    • Foster legal aid programs to help families respond to threats of eviction and foreclosure.
    • Support homeless, mentally ill, and disabled Georgians by increasing funding for the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless and the Georgia Housing Voucher Program.
    • Divert people experiencing homelessness from going to jail by championing law enforcement programs that send them to other services. An example of this is the Atlanta Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative
    • Create a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance fund to protect households suffering from unexpected financial hardship.
    • Aid local governments in the development and operation of supportive housing facilities.
    • Create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to help low-income, working Georgians and enable more families to afford housing.
  • Distribute unspent federal and state money for emergency rental assistance 
    • Accelerate the distribution of more than $450 million of unspent federal emergency rental assistance. 
  • Protect Georgians from eviction and foreclosures:
    • Protect tenants from summary eviction by requiring a notice period during which tenants can cure any violations and a reasonable cause requirement for eviction.
  • Establish a judicial foreclosure process in Georgia.
    • Reduce the rate of foreclosures and make Georgia a less attractive target for unscrupulous sellers of high-cost subprime mortgages.
Policy / Housing Affordability /
Stacey walking with two young supporters
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