The lack of affordable housing is a major concern of many cities in the Metro Atlanta area since rents and housing cost have gone up from 35-45% while wages have only gone up 15% over the last ten years.
Since it is also an issue here in Fayetteville, I attended a conference in Atlanta Tuesday, Nov. 12th. The report I sent back to Council and our City Manager is available on http://kathaleenbrewer.com. There was a wide range of ideas and approaches presented. Feel free to let me know what you think about any of them.
To start with, the definition of “affordable housing” is when a person does not have to spend 30% or more of his monthly income on rent or a mortgage. That percentage in some cases now also includes the cost to commute to work (gas) and pay utilities.
Doing the numbers for the City of Fayetteville: Affordable housing eligibility depends on the Area Median Income (AMI), meaning half the population in the city makes above this number and the other half makes below this number.
For Fayetteville the median income is $71,350 according to USA Data. This means if you make $21,450 (30% of $71,500) a year up to $35,750 (50%) a year you are considered a very low income household and if you make above 50% or $35,750 a year up to $57,200 (80%) then you are considered a low income household. If you make over $57,200 up to $71,500 a year, then you are considered a moderate income household. So what we are talking about here is actually “work force” housing.
Two of the more interesting approaches that are being tried in other cities are “Inclusionary Zoning“ and “Land Banks.” Inclusionary Zoning means there is an ordinance that states all housing developments must contain at least 10 to 20% units/houses priced so that low and medium income citizens are eligible to own or rent in the same neighborhood or building as market bearing units.
The ”Land Banks” approach is when the land is retained-owned by an entity (several different ways to do that) so when a person buys a house they are paying for the structure only — excluding the land it sits on.
Think of a home in a National Park. Since the developer doesn’t have to take out and pay off land loans, he can afford to build and sell quality homes for much less. The land can be owned by a land trust, a non-profit or a combination of private/philanthropic and city partners.
Affordable housing is something I have always been concerned about in our city. If I am re-elected I’ll be asking for an Affordable Housing Task Force made up of a cross section of citizens of different ages and incomes to take a closer look at all these ideas and help define specific community needs.
City Councilwoman, Post 2
[Brewer is in a Dec. 3 runoff with city Planning Commissioner Joe Clark to retain her post.]