Editor’s Note: The following blog was written before the current COVID-19 outbreak. Many of our neighbors are finding themselves unable to pay their monthly rent. The impact this will have to our schools, our businesses and our community is yet to be seen, but it will be devastating to our community if these residents are forced out. We applaud the city’s support of the Community Assistance Center in the March 17th council meeting, and hope that there is more that our community can do. Once this crisis is over, however, our need for sustainable rent affordability will still be there, and here is how the City of Atlanta is addressing the issue.
The affordable housing crisis is impacting cities and communities around the country, and our very own Sandy Springs surely isn’t exempt.
Different cities have offered and implemented various solutions to solve this growing problem, and one thing is clear: there is no “one size fits all” solution.
A (New?) Solution for Atlanta
The news crew over at 11Alive is back with another great segment about affordable housing, this time focusing on efforts made by Atlanta city council members to protect existing affordable housing through calls for “rent control” to state officials.
“We’re in dire need of rent stabilization to keep our residents in their homes,” said Atlanta Councilmember Antonio Brown in an article published by the AJC.
He’s right. Whether or not rent control is the solution, Brown correctly points out the dire need for rent stabilization, a problem that is impacting working families in Sandy Springs, too.
A Step in the Right Direction
In the same AJC article, Georgia State University professor and housing expert Dan Immergluck points out that rent control is a step in the right direction, but not an end all solution.
The bottom line: rent control does help to stabilize rent, but does little to nothing in the way of helping to decrease long-term housing costs.
Furthermore, Immergluck “pointed out there are other potential consequences to rent control that the city likely can’t avoid,” such as an inability for a city “to stop landlords from converting rental units into condominiums and offering them for sale at high prices.” But…even this alternative can have advantages by offering more affordable home ownership options than new construction would offer.
Is This Right for Sandy Springs?
By our estimation, this is absolutely something the city government should consider along with other policies that might be a better fit for our city.
We aren’t going to endorse this solution. We’re simply here to highlight what solutions other cities are calling for and attempting to implement, provide analysis on both sides of the argument and start a dialogue among community members.
But at the end of the day, it’s imperative that public input be at the center of the decision making process. Without this key step, public trust will decrease and we are worse off in all regards.
We are stronger when each of us are heard, and seen, in the process. If you’re interested in staying up to date on all the details, including important announcements of events where you can raise your voice, follow us on Facebook and join our community of dedicated citizens.