Housing Assistance Programs

“One value represented in every plan commissioned by the City of Decatur is the value of diversity. In order to achieve economic diversity, we must provide new housing opportunities for low-income families because we are losing our affordable housing all the time due to the development of market rate opportunities.”

Douglas S. Faust, CEO/Executive Director of the Decatur Housing Authority

 

Decatur Housing Authority

The Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) was established in 1938. Its mission is to create affordable housing in the City of Decatur, while promoting vibrant and healthy communities. The DHA provides more than 400 rental apartment units at various locations in the city that offer quality affordable housing opportunities targeting individuals and families making 80 percent or less of the Atlanta AMI. DHA also provides 87 work force rental units made available at reasonable prices to provide housing opportunities for moderate income families in Decatur.  DHA has 37 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) apartments that are rented at fixed levels below market rate as another form of workforce housing. DHA manages 1,168 housing vouchers that allow families at 80% AMI or less to pay 30% of adjusted income for rent and utilities in private rental housing located in DeKalb County.  DHA has also developed for-sale residential developments including two market-rate townhouse developments which include several affordable housing units, a single-family home development that targeted middle income, first-time home buyers, and the 90-unit Talley Street Lofts community.  DHA has developed over 635 homes and renovations since 2000 at an investment of over $100 million in the City of Decatur providing numerous opportunities for affordable and workforce housing for its citizens.

DHA has had many roles in the development of Decatur including renovations, land assemblage, financing oversight, and new home construction on the properties listed below. 

Allen Wilson Terrace Apartments • Calloway Building • Clairmont Oaks • Clark Harrison Building • Columbia Senior • Commerce Place Townhouses • Commodore Square Townhouses • Craftmaster Building Renovation • Decatur High School Land Assembly Athletic Field • Decatur High School Land Assembly Campus • Decatur Public Improvements • DeKalb County Court House • Ebster Park Pool & Rec Area • Ebster Soccer Field • Elderly Occupied Housing Rehabilitation • Gateway Apartments Rehabilitation • Homeowner Housing Rehabilitation • Manuel J. Maloof Administrative Center • 325 Swanton Way • Oakview Walk • Oliver House • One West Court Square • Olympic Place • Park Trace • Phillips Tower • Rosewalk Community • Spring Pointe Apartments • Swanton Heights Apartments • Swanton Hill Neighborhood • Swanton Way Office Condos • Talley Street Lofts Condominiums • Urban Homesteading Homes • Village at Oakhurst • 750 Commerce Building • Allen Wilson Revitalization • Trinity Walk Revitalization • Oakview Walk Revitalization  • Swanton Heights Revitalization

For more information on housing assistance programs provided by the Decatur Housing Authority, see the DHA website.

 

City of Decatur Assistance Programs

Decatur Homestead Exemptions for Homeowners: details here.

Property Tax Assistance Program, details here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service for senior home repairs.


Non-Profit Partner, The Decatur Land Trust and Decatur Home Rehabilitation Program

Decatur Land Trust, website here

Decatur Home ReHAB Program (year-round), website here

 

City of Decatur

Ongoing Affordable Housing Initiatives

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy was adopted July 2020 and requires that any new development with five or more units set aside at least 10% of the units for moderate-income households. This policy should bring its first inclusionary units in 2022 with new developments that are now in the permitting process.

Decatur Legacy Park

After the conclusion of the adopted Master Plan for Decatur Legacy Park (f.k.a. United Methodist Children's Home) on December 3, 2018, the City contracted additional planning services to further define affordable housing options at Decatur Legacy Park located at 500 South Columbia Drive.  The scope of work was to review the specific housing locations, appropriate building types and scale in context to its surroundings both on-site and off-site, affordability preferences, parking needs, additional infrastructure to support the additional buildings, and the financial feasibility of different conceptual layouts, including potential subsidies that would be needed across the different scenarios.   Engagement of the Housing Stakeholders group, a public community charrette, public input opportunity with the Winnona Park Neighborhood Association were also part of the scope. The Decatur Housing Authority will complete the housing at the South Housing Village at Leagcy Park, resulting in 132 affordable units.

Commerce Drive Cottage Court

Developments of smaller homes clustered around shared green space offer home ownership options for first-time buyers and empty nesters interested in downsizing. The Decatur Development Authority is currently developing a model project with six homes ranging in size from 468 to 1,100 square feet that will be marketed to employees of the City of Decatur and City Schools of Decatur through a lottery system. Ownership of the land will be retained through a community land trust and the houses will be sold to individuals who qualify. Homeowners will have a 99-year lease on the land and share in the maintenance of common areas through a homeowners association. The city plans to pursue more of these developments and target individuals and families making 80-to-100 percent of the median income. The city is also making it easier for private builders to develop similar cottage court developments with multiple small homes rather than one or two large houses. These homes offer a much-needed small-home option.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

 In 2014, the City revised its zoning codes to reduce the minimum square footage for a home and make it easier to build accessory dwellings in single-family residential districts. These smaller units, generally located to the rear of a primary residence, create small rental housing opportunities in single-family neighborhoods and provide additional income to help cover mortgage payments for the homeowner. They also offer a housing option for aging parents, young adult children or caregivers to support aging in place. ADUs are allowed in all single-family residential zoning districts if lot size and setback requirements are met. City staff will assist single-family homeowners interested in pursuing ADUs on their properties.

Affordable Housing Task Force

In 2019 the City Commission created the Affordable Housing Task Force and appointed 26 volunteer community members to serve on the task force. The charge of the task force was to research and develop recommendations for new policies, programs and initiatives for the creation of new workforce and affordable housing and preservation of of existing workforce and affordable housing units already in the City of Decatur. The task force convened over the period of nine months with the final report given in February 2020, which can be found here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service Project

This community-supported program works with lower-income senior homeowners in Decatur to provide much-needed home repairs and energy-efficient upgrades, making it possible for them to age in place and remain in the community. Work ranges from simple repairs to projects that correct hazardous conditions and make a home more accessible for elderly residents. While the majority of this work is done during the month of January in honor of Dr. King’s birthday, assistance is provided throughout the year to address emergency repairs.

Homestead Exemptions

The basic homestead exemption reduces the property tax bill for owner-occupied housing. Additional homestead exemptions target lower-income homeowners and older homeowners to further reduce property tax bills to help make homeownership more affordable. In November, Decatur residents voted to approve five homestead exemptions that extended existing programs and added an additional program.