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Atlanta residents plan to hold a rally and press conference calling for City policy makers to make major investments in real affordable housing on the footprint of the BeltLine. The rally is set to take place at City Hall on Friday, July 20th at 10:30 a.m.

The Housing Justice League released the following statement, excerpted below:

Atlanta is in crisis. Housing costs are on the rise and we are losing affordable units at a staggering rate. Between 2010 and 2014 Atlanta lost 5,300 low cost rental units. Meanwhile, 32,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing.  

 

Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. is a public private partnership launched in 2005. The BeltLine, and its public sector partners and supporters — particularly the City of Atlanta and Fulton county — promised that 5,600 affordable units would be built as a part of the project. But almost halfway through its completion, fewer than 1,000 units have been built. Meanwhile, experts estimate that there is need for 10,400 affordable units in the Atlanta BeltLine area alone in the next decade.  

 

Not only has the BeltLine failed to build affordable housing, but it has also directly caused housing values near it to rise between 18 percent and 27 percent more than elsewhere in the city. These effects are especially foreboding on the Southside where low-income black communities face the encroaching threat of mass displacement from Beltline development plans that have not even broken ground yet. Neighborhoods along the southwest segment of the BeltLine, which includes Adair Park, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsville, and Westview, saw median sale prices jump 68 percent from 2011 to 2015! With prices on the rise, existing residents will be pushed out. In the Old Fourth Ward where a section of the BeltLine has been completed, we have already seen the destructive reality of mass displacement. 

 

Atlanta’s southside communities are fighting for a say in the development process in order to improve and preserve what is best in their communities and stay in the areas they know and love. These neighborhoods have seen broken promises and discriminatory divestment for decades. Recent examples include bypassing community concerns to push through Arthur Blank’s Mercedes Benz Stadium and handing over the redevelopment of Turner Field to Georgia State University and Carter Development without a fair contract with the community in place. 

 

The BeltLine development is nearly half done, and its legacy is still up in the air.  

We are calling for Development without Displacement. It is unconscionable for a city with resources as great as Atlanta’s to stand by and allow the continued extraction of wealth from historically marginalized communities. The City must prioritize human rights and stop funding destructive mega developments with our tax dollars. Renters and low-income homeowners must receive more legal protections and support.” 

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