Pittsburgh Joins Atlanta in considering Affordable Housing Impact Statements
(APN) ATLANTA — The Community Development/Human Resources Committee of the City Council of Atlanta is set to vote on Affordable Housing Impact Statements (AHIS) at its upcoming meeting on Monday, November 09, 2015, according to Chairman Andre Dickens (Post 3-at-large).
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The held Atlanta ordinance is 14-O-1614:
APN’s News Editor–the present writer–drafted the legislation in 2014; and Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) introduced the legislation in November 2014, to address the ongoing issue of affordable housing in the City of Atlanta. It has been held in Committee for almost a year.
Now, as Atlanta’s CD/HR Cmte gets ready to vote on the proposal, Atlanta Progressive News has learned that the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is also considering a similar proposal.
Pittsburgh’s proposal for Affordable Housing Impact Statements is clearly based on the Atlanta proposal. It adopts much of the same language as the Atlanta proposal, using the same Whereas clauses, but plugging in the word Pittsburgh for the word Atlanta; and using Pittsburgh affordable housing numbers in the place of Atlanta numbers.
Pittsburgh’s ordinance, 2015-2063, was introduced on September 29, 2015, and was referred to committee there. There is a possibility it could be voted on before the end of 2015.
Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky V. Burgess took the lead on the legislation, and it was co-sponsored by Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle.
The Pittsburgh AHIS proposal is mentioned in several Pittsburgh area news reports:
Affordable Housing Impact Statements
As previously reported by APN, the Atlanta proposal would require that any future legislation passed by the CD/HR Committee and Council that is estimated to have an impact on the affordable housing stock of the City of Atlanta, to have an attached Affordable Housing Impact Statement, prepared by the City’s Office of Housing.
The Impact Statement would state how many units would be added or subtracted across different income brackets, highlighting the effect of public policy on housing affordability in Atlanta.
The Council routinely passes legislation that impacts the affordable housing stock of the City of Atlanta, especially related to acceptance of federal grant dollars, land use changes, and other types of legislation.
Having an Impact Statement attached to the legislation would empower the CD/HR Cmte and the Council with meaningful information regarding the legislation’s estimated impact, at the point that the legislation is being considered.
The Municipal Clerk’s Office would also be tasked with maintaining a repository of all Impact Statements, which would allow advocates, stakeholders, and policymakers to track the aggregate estimated impact of the Council’s policy decisions on the affordable housing stock of the City of Atlanta over time.
Further, as Atlantans consider some of the big ideas to address affordable housing–land bank authority, inclusionary zoning, tiny houses–having the AHIS process in place will give us a tool to compare the effectiveness of each policy in terms of the numbers of units being added and subtracted.
The structure for the Statements, as per the draft ordinance currently before the Council, is as follows:
“This legislation, if enacted, is estimated to have a projected impact upon the affordable housing stock of the City of Atlanta by:
“Adding ___ or decreasing ___ units affordable at 30 or below percent of the City of Atlanta Area Median Income (AMI);
“Adding ___ or decreasing ___ units affordable between 30.01 and 50 percent of AMI;
“Adding ___ or decreasing ___ units affordable at between 50.01 and 80 percent of AMI; and
“Adding ___ or decreasing ___ units affordable at over 80 percent of AMI.”
Last month, in September 2015, the Saporta Report published an op-ed by APN’s Editor on AHIS.
Subsequently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politifact investigated a claim contained in the op-ed–regarding the fact that tens of thousands of Atlanta households are struggling with housing cost burden–and published a completely TRUE rating.