Sandy Springs government spent much of 2020 studying housing needs for our residents. At the end of the intensive study, the city reported what many who live here already know to be true: Sandy Springs is losing its most financially vulnerable residents through displacement and the high cost of housing.
When our teachers, firefighters, nurses and those who make our city work can’t afford to live here, it’s time to take action.
In Sandy Springs, we don’t wait for others to act. We roll up our sleeves and get the job done. We fought to become our own city years ago so that we could envision the future that we want for ourselves and make it happen on our own terms.
But our ability to design our future is at risk.
This page is intended to collect and summarize the city government’s own study on the important issue of creating housing for those who make our city vibrant.
Thriving communities are places where everyone has decent, affordable, accessible places to live. Where young families can lay a foundation and seniors can stay rooted or appropriately downsize. Where prosperity is seeded through entrepreneurial ideas spread by diverse people from all walks of life.
In the News
- Sandy Springs issues RFP for housing needs assessment, Reporter Newspapers, April 7, 200
- Sandy Springs needs more affordable housing, officials told, AJC, Nov 6, 2020
- Consultants: Most Sandy Springs new homes not affordable for low-income families, MDJ, Nov 9, 2020
What the Housing Needs Assessment tells us:
- We aren’t building starter homes for families;
- We don’t have a way for people to start and grow families here; and
- We don’t have a place for seniors to stay rooted and close to their connections of friends and family.
If we want better opportunities for our children & seniors, we can’t wait for others to act — and we can’t afford to do nothing.
We envisioned our future when we fought for cityhood and NOW, we must take intentional and decisive action once again.
Our ability to design our own future is at risk due to population growth, cost of construction, lack of land, displacement, and economic downturns.
It is time to shore up our future, or we are in danger of losing the very things we love about our community.
We must prioritize better and more affordable housing options or we will lose the very amenities and culture that we value.
Providing housing for our workforces makes sense to businesses that call Sandy Springs home. And these businesses are the economic engine of our community, without them we can’t survive.
While employers are happy with our cost of living and amenities, they expressed concern that if we don’t have housing for their entry level and support staff earning less than $50,000, they won’t be able to attract and keep their workforce.
The city’s study revealed the following needs for employers:
- Workforce Attraction
- Employers in the restaurant, health care, fire safety/law enforcement, para-pros and teacher assistance jobs face significant recruitment and retention challenges due to high housing costs and limited public transportation.
- Employers noted that employees often live outside of Sandy Springs and commute upwards of an hour each way, each day. As traffic increases there are concerns about continued workforce attraction and retention.
- Regional Employment Center
- The city’s cost of living and quality of life advantages, valued highly by employers, are at risk if lower-and moderate-income households cannot afford housing in Sandy Springs.
Sandy Springs is a great place to live but there are few opportunities to take root in our community. As a result, the teachers, nurses and firefighters who make our community strong often live far away from their jobs here. As the commutes grow longer, the desire to work here diminishes. While many of these people would choose to live here, if possible, there are currently no city policies in place that encourage it or make it possible.
- Displacement Concerns
- 1,800 renters earning less than $50,000 (these are our teachers, nurses, firefighters and more) have left Sandy Springs due to increasing housing costs and decreasing housing supply since 2012.
- In that time, we have lost 2,170 rental units affordable to renters earning less than (approx.) $60,000.
- Limited New Development
- It’s increasingly difficult to settle in Sandy Springs because code restrictions drive up construction costs and reduce multifamily development, lower household growth, and raise housing costs.
And it’s also true that rents continue to rise.
Impact on Schools
When our employers lose their staff, because renters are priced out of our city, our schools feel the impact.
The Challenge facing Sandy Springs:
If we are going to meet the demand of our employers for more housing that is affordable for their workforce, we need 5,270 MORE apartments .
AND we need 1,800 MORE homeownership opportunities for people earning $50,000 or less. 81% of single-family homes (both detached and townhomes) were sold for over $400,000.
Without housing that is affordable to our workforce, our traffic continues to worsen as 111,786 CARS commute INTO our city every workday.
If our workforce lived here, we would have less traffic.
Sandy Springs homeowners are increasingly becoming OLDER and WEALTHIER. This makes it impossible for young new families to afford to live in our city AND it makes it impossible for seniors to downsize as they retire. Our seniors are the VOLUNTEER WORKFORCE of our city and we cannot afford to lose them.
We don’t want to lose what makes Sandy Springs special simply because we didn’t come together as a community to plan for the future we want. But if we don’t address the rising costs of housing and effectively plan for the growth of the city, we are certain to lose what we love most about our city.
If we want residents of Sandy Springs to have the opportunity to move up and grow financially, then we need to make sure there’s a comfortable place to start. Sandy Springs can be a great place to own a home where property values are rising AND a place where families who are just starting out can find great housing options at all levels of income.
But none of this will happen without the spirit that brought our city together in the first place. We’ve proven that we can unite to bring great change. Now, let’s come together to plan for our future.