Atlanta Housing Authority

Atlanta Housing Authority is organized under Georgia law to develop, acquire, lease and operate affordable housing for low-income families. Today, AHA is the largest housing agency in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, serving approximately 50,000 people. [cite web|url=|title=AHA Web site|date=2003-10-07|accessdate=2007-07-05]

In 1996, AHA created the financial and legal model for mixed-income, mixed-finance transactions that include public-assisted housing as a component. This model is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI revitalization program. In Atlanta, it has resulted in six vibrant mixed-income communities, with three more in the predevelopment phase. [cite web|url=|title=AHA Web site|date=2003-10-07|accessdate=2007-07-05]

The first of these, Centennial Place, has been recognized by HUD and the Urban Land Institute as an exemplary community, featuring a math, science and technology-focused elementary school, a YMCA, a branch bank, a child-care facility and retail shops. In the near future, the Centennial Place community will also include homeownership units. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-04-29|accessdate=2007-07-05]

In total, 16 public housing complexes around the city have undergone such a metamorphosis. But AHA’s mission is not complete. All of AHA's conventional, multifamily complexes have been razed or are slated for demolition in the next several years. The agency also plans to tear down three senior-citizen high-rise apartments and will relocate residents who are elderly or disabled into properties better-suited to their needs. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-04-29|accessdate=2007-07-05] The move will affect more than 3,000 units and 9,600 residents at a dozen properties as far flung as Leila Valley in far southeast Atlanta to Bankhead Courts near the Cobb County border. AHA residents will be offered a variety of relocation options and long-term assistance that include federal rent-assistance vouchers good anywhere in the country. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-02-14|accessdate=2007-07-05]

AHA is taking advantage of relaxed federal rules good through 2010 to raze those blighted communities and give residents the opportunity to live elsewhere. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-02-14|accessdate=2007-07-05]

In 2004, AHA required all able-bodied adults between 18 and 61 to be employed or successfully participating in job training or some other educational assistance. Today, nearly all able-bodied adults living in the remaining housing projects are compliant. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-05-14|accessdate=2007-07-05]

AHA recognizes the more realistic and morally defensible approach to poverty is to encourage individuals in public housing to become self-sufficient while engaging the private sector to invest in creating thriving communities. [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Journal-Constitution|date=2007-04-29|accessdate=2007-07-05]

In 2008, residents of Bowen Homes and others are expressing concern that AHA is not finding homes for their relocation prior to demolition of the 3,000 families living in the complex. According to research done the conversion to vouchers is concentrating the displaced residents by race and income in violation of the Fair Housing Act, prompting a filing of a fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). [cite web|url=|title=Atlanta Housing Demolition Sparks Outcry|date=2008-03-10|accessdate=2008-03-19] However, HUD is charged with approving the applications for demolitions, suggesting a conflict of interest in reviewing such a complaint.


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