Atlanta Housing (AH) has retooled its neighborhood site and vicinity standards, a decision that will make room for more units on its Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP).
Previous inspection standards, which considered 20 neighboring properties – five each to the left, right, front and back – resulted in failed inspections by more than 100 properties since 2015. The updated standards, however, focus on properties in the subject property’s adjacent area, defined as “the lots that touch the subject property, which would most commonly be the lots to the left, right and rear of the subject property.”
While some Atlanta neighborhoods that are in the early stages of revitalization still suffer from pockets of blight, AH does not wish to exclude from its programs homes that, aside from their neighboring properties, are otherwise acceptable. Additionally, the agency sees the participant benefit in encouraging investment in promising areas that offer robust public transportation and proximity to jobs, education and training.
“We identified the need for key modifications and made changes accordingly,” says Brandon Riddick-Seals, interim president and CEO of Atlanta Housing. “Our goal is to add more units to the affordable housing market and to create and revitalize communities that offer a better way of life to our residents. Standards are necessary, and our inspections team ensures that all AH residents are housed in quality living environments. But our participants and landlords spoke, and we listened to what they had to say,” Riddick-Seals adds. “These changes make it easier for property owners to do business with Atlanta Housing while continuing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our residents.”
A recent evaluation by AH inspectors indicates that 84 percent of homes that failed inspection under the previous standard would pass using the new site and vicinity standard.