1) Use eminent domain and other policy tools to take all vacant houses and land from derelict owners. Atlanta did before the 1996 Olympics, why not now.
2) Place such properties into land bank to abate taxes, then put them all into a land trust to ensure these properties are turned into a large stock of durable affordable housing.
3) Collect fines, fees, or even create a new tax to fund a massive home ownership program to create financial incentives for families and first time buyers to move into these communities. This should be done in a contiguous manner, block by block.
4) WE NEED ACTION ON THIS ISSUE, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE LACK OF URGENCY ON THE PART OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL TO BE MORE PROACTIVE AND AGGRESSIVE.
Thank you to all those who commented earlier. Very telling.
The income mobility study is definitely groundbreaking. This research supports Patrick Sharkey’s new book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality.
As a candidate for Atlanta City Council in District-1, I found the Mayor's comments perplexing. I'll be the first to admit that this issue is beyond complex. There's no such thing as a silver bullet for poverty. However, some straight talk from the business community and City Hall wouldn't hurt. In Atlanta Magazine's article "The Other 284 Days "Rebecca Burns, asked council member Carla Smith "how she explains the economic disparity in her district—which also includes Grant Park and Lakewood—Smith was terse: “I don’t want to do that. I love all my constituents. Do you have children? You know you can’t favor one over the other.”
Really? In District-1 we have a 36% poverty rate, 24% high school dropout rate, and a vacant housing rate of about 20%. Did I mention the 19% unemployment rate. Clearly Atlanta's problem is lack economic diversity at the neighborhood level. We also have a severe opportunity gap. Most would agree that concentrated poverty stifles economic growth. However, to solve a problem we must first admit that we have a problem.
We cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand. In light of the recent increase in crime in Southeast Atlanta, we must realize that we are all interconnected. What happens in Lakewood impacts Grant park. And what's happening in Lakewood and many neighborhoods south of I-20 is the proliferation of vacant houses. These neighborhoods are crying out for help, City Hall is not listening. Vacant neighborhoods breed crime and make all of us less safe. This causes a cascade effect that erodes the tax base and kills job growth because business cannot make money without warm bodies.
The city needs to declare war on vacant homes and work proactively to encourage all those Falcons and Braves fans to consider moving in-town while created pathways out of poverty for current residents who need and deserve a hand up, not a hand out. This can be done by providing a tax abatement, down payment assistance, and perhaps marrying the idea of a social impact bond with the Beltline and other development projects.
I'm running for city council because I want to represent the interest of the entire district. Regardless of what neighborhood you live in or how much money you have, we are all connected. I'm not saying Carla is bad person, she's just not the right person to move us forward. We need new ideas and energy to tackle old problems that don't seem to get better.
Thanks Cityzen and Cassie. I want to represent the interests of the entire district. Carla's not a bad person, she's just not the right person.
I look forward to meeting you in person. We're having a Meet and Greet Wednesday in Grant Park. Check my Facebook page for details or GPNA's Facebook discussion.
Rob Welsh actually had total contributions of $8,064.59 (includes cash and in-kind)
I'm glad to see Creative Loafing picked this up. It's going to be a hot summer in District 1. I will fight hard to give District 1 the representation they desperately need and deserve.
I just have one question. Where's Clara?
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