2021 Policy and Advocacy Agenda

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has never been clearer that decent, safe, affordable and stable housing is the essential foundation for strong and healthy families and communities. Today, hundreds of thousands of Georgians who have lost their jobs or are facing health crises due to the pandemic are under the threat of eviction that endangers the ability to avoid homelessness, risks their physical and mental health, makes it difficult or impossible to work or receive an education, and undermines family stability. Pre-pandemic, half of every Georgia renter household was cost burdened, paying more than the HUD recommended standard of no more than 30% of their income for housing – a challenge that was and is unaffordable and results in housing that is insecure, uninhabitable or nonexistent. Georgia ACT’s Policy and Advocacy Agenda supports strengthening resources and commitments to meet the affordable housing needs for all Georgians over their lifetimes, including rural, underserved, vulnerable seniors, children, veterans, homeless, and people with disabilities.

Georgia law provides a commitment to safe, decent, affordable housing for all. Georgia Advancing Communities Georgia ACT is dedicated to engaging a broad coalition of organizations and individuals to make that vision a reality that creates stronger, healthier, better educated and more successful communities.

Georgia Advancing Communities Together (Georgia ACT) is a statewide membership organization representing the state’s nonprofit housing and community development organizations. Our mission is to build, support, and inform a statewide network of thriving organizations, professionals, and individuals advancing equitable housing and community development. Our vision is for all Georgia families have safe and decent housing in vibrant neighborhoods. We seek a more favorable policy environment and greater resources for the nonprofit housing industry. We advocate to state and federal government executive and legislative branches, stakeholders, and other organizations targeting a similar population. Georgia ACT provides forums where nonprofit organizations can network, exchange information through peer learning, and recognize member contributions. We provide communications tools to inform members and the public, promote key issues, and commission research regarding affordable housing and community development.

Georgia ACT’s State Policy Priorities:

Increase Resources and Opportunities to Provide and Sustain Housing for All

  • Strengthen housing stability for low income families facing eviction by joining 40 states that provide written notice and a pre-eviction filing right to cure. HB 408
  • Support Joint House-Senate Study Committee to prevent childhood lead poisoning. HR 52
  • Address budget issues to insure protection of current funding levels essential for housing and restore funds for housing vouchers for people with severe and persistent mental illness. Support funding for public private partnerships that fund access to rural broadband.
  • Protect the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit (SLITHC) that is the key funding source for the preservation and construction of multi-family affordable housing.
  • Support enabling legislation to allow communities who choose to access new revenue sources and dedicate those funds for key local affordable housing needs.

Local Legislative Priorities:

  • City of Atlanta:
  • Authorize changes to Urban Enterprise Zone to allow use of funds in areas of opportunity.
  • Strengthen stability and reduce gentrification by allowing for freeze of property taxes in low and moderate income neighborhoods until the property is sold or the owner dies.
  • Statewide: Support establishing local and regional Land Bank Authorities.

Additional Goals:

  • Develop a broad coalition working to establish and fund a State Housing Trust Fund with a dedicated revenue stream to meet the housing needs of Georgians across the state.
  • Maximize Georgia’s access to federal funding that supports affordable housing and rental assistance.
  • Increase resources to the Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless to establish additional permanent housing options so that homelessness is temporary and
  • Enable local communities to use zoning, tax and financial incentives to support preservation and development of housing that meets the needs of families across the economic

·         Allow communities to extend public subsidies to achieve long-term housing affordability.

  • Strengthen connections between housing, good jobs, quality schools, and transit.
  • Support community development in rural communities by increasing access to broadband, public transit, and disaster relief for homeowners and
  • Create a Housing Affordability Task Force to prioritize solutions to meet community and family needs.
  • Prohibit “source of income” discrimination for renters.

Georgia ACT’s Policy Action Strategies:

  • Housing Day at the Capitol on February 24, 2021 – Advocacy Training and Engagement.
  • Advocacy Training Webinar on Feb. 10, 2021 to prepare for Housing Day at the Capitol.

·         Advocacy updates and alerts throughout the legislative session to empower statewide engagement with legislators on affordable housing priorities.

  • Engage the Department of Community Affairs to increase access to affordable housing by:

§  Enforcement of annual state housing goals and legislative reporting requirements.

  • Increase State Plan commitments for housing low-income
  • Expand the coalition of organizations working together to increase access to safe, decent, affordable housing for all
  • Increase public education on affordable housing to raise
  • Seek input from organizations, municipalities, practitioners, and advocates throughout Georgia on affordable housing issues to build a 2022 legislative
  • Support civic engagement that is a foundation for vibrant communities, including strong participation in all aspects of citizen advocacy and protection of meaningful access to the ballot.

To join or for more info visit www.georgiaact.org

Dr. Bambie Hayes Brown, Georgia ACT President & CEO bhayesbrown@georgiaact.org  (404) 884-3499

Elizabeth J. Appley, Esq., Policy Advocate, eja@appleylaw.com  (404) 877-8772