News Briefs: Eliminating blight; affordable housing; preserving Westside homes

Councilmember Dustin Hillis uses his smartphone to report code violations.

District 9 Atlanta City Councilmember Dustin Hillis is on a mission to eliminate blight in his district and throughout the city. Since taking office Jan. 2, Hillis and his staff have submitted over 150 code enforcement issues to the city via smartphone. The councilmember is encouraging residents to use the SeeClickFix smartphone app to submit similar code violations to the city. The app syncs with ATL 311 and sends a notification anytime a new code enforcement violation comes in. The city is currently developing its own app for the same purpose. Turning in code enforcement violations is only a part of the battle for Hillis, who wants to see these properties cleaned up and be rebuilt with affordable housing.

A new initiative has been unveiled to strengthen affordable housing opportunities in the City of Atlanta to help low income residents avoid displacement. The initiative includes three unique Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab (OOR) programs –  which provide forgivable loans to residents to make critical health and safety repairs on their homes. The program is being implemented by Invest Atlanta with support from the Atlanta Housing Authority and Choice Atlanta. The initiative is geared toward seniors, veterans, disabled heads of households, and families who have lived in their homes for at least five years, with a special focus on Westside neighborhoods like Vine City, English Avenue and portions of Castleberry Hill as well as Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center area. Information about the Heritage Owner-Occupied Rehab programs can be found at www.investatlanta.com/owneroccupiedrehab

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has acquired three properties along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail that the organization plans to rehabilitate and sell back to the community as affordable housing. Two of the properties are houses that the Trust will rehabilitate; the third property is an undeveloped lot on which the Trust will construct a new house that is affordable, environmentally sustainable and architecturally compatible with the historic neighborhood. After construction is completed, all three houses will be made available for purchase as affordable housing through the Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund program, which provides effective alternatives to demolition or neglect of architecturally and historically significant properties. The properties are located in historic Washington Park (circa 1953, 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms) and Mozley Park (1920s bungalow with 1,300 square feet). The two houses contribute to the historical integrity and architectural qualities of those neighborhoods. The undeveloped lot is adjacent to the Washington Park house.

 

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