Box 5, Folder 7, Document 29

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Box 5, Folder 7, Document 29

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AUGUST 2, 1968
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ATLANTA. GA. 30303
Tel. 522-4463 Area Code 404
Housing Resources Committee
Housing Coordinator
I am appearing before you as Chairman of the Housing Resources
Comrni ttee of the City _o f Atlanta.
charged by
In November 1966, we were
the Mayor to assist by all means possible the con-
struction of 16,800 units of low and moderate income housing
These units were to serve as relocation for persons to
be moved by urban renewal, new roads, schools, and other government action.
As of May 15 we stood as follows:
Units completed
Under construction
In planning
'rotal in sight
Of this 16,800,
9,576 were to be public housing -- 3,906 of these
are in some stage of completion, 658 have been leased, and 372 are
being negotiated.
This means that 4-,64-0 more units are needed by
In the F.H.A. programs . for low to moderate incomes, we are running
ahead by 3,165 units.
It is then in the area of public housing,
the most needed and the most difficult to find land for, that we
-need help.
-2In addition to the replacEment housing we need, the total requirement for low and moderate units as compiled by the City
Planning Department is 31,400.
Thus even if we complete the
16,800 units, we are still 14,600 units short of our total needs.
It is no news to you that this program is controversial.
and black, rich and poor, people in government and out, good guys
and bad guys, say either, "we need it, but put it somewhere else."
or "don't put anymore of it anywhere."
And our proposals are
themselves controversial, open to misinterpretation and exploitation.
But this Committee feels that our requests are justified in terms
of the successful completion of this program--and we did not join
this committee to fail.
The question has been raised concerning the inability of the people
of Atlanta to stand the tax burden of carrying out the program.
should not be forgotten that over 7,000 of these units will, in
fact, be tax producing and will present no additional burden on
Atlanta's taxpayers.
in lieu of taxes.
Even Public Housing makes payment to the Cit y
All pay, even if at a reduced rate.
It is well
known that slums absorb an inordinate amount of taxes in the extra
police protection, fire protection and sanitary services.
When we
eliminate sl ums we als o eliminate considera ble p r ofitl ess d rain of
tax dollars.
The Housing program will p res umably put over
$170,000 , 000.00 in construction costs into Atlan-ta's economy during
construction; jobs will be created during construction and long
after in man~gement and maintenance.
We submit that the net effect
on the City will be incieased ta x yield and substantial improvement
in the overall economy.
The point was also made that if we enforce the laws against ove rcrowding, the people would have no place to go but Fulton and
�; ~
DeKalb County.
We approve of the enforcement of the law, but .
challenge the assumption of knowing where the displaced would
If history.repeats, they will stay as close by as possible
-and "block bust" adjoini.n g neighborhoods,: unless . a definite
program is set up to relocate them.
One of the T.V. stations warned us that you would want several
que.s .tions answered today.
They are good questions--we believe
we have. good answers •
Why don't we look for sites already zoned for apartments'?
We have--the developers have--the areas now zoned
for apartments of all kinds amount to 455 acres and of this
more than three-fourths have been tried and found wanting.
Zoning isn't the only criteria.
The site selected must be
priced right, it must satisfy H.U.D., the Atlanta -Housing
Authority, F.H.A., schools must be available, utilities
must be in, terrain must be feasible and so on.
What is to prevent prices on rezoned land from'?
The more land available, the lower the prices should
Is the housing being built being used by displaced Atlanta
people or is it making Atlanta a dumping ground for the poor'?
We acknowledge this possibility and have taken the
following steps:
1.We recommended to the Atlanta Housing Authority and they have
required one year· residency ror acceptance in public housing.
-4--- .
Recent figures, however, show that the people who want
public housing are our own Atlantans.
From November 1, 1967 to June 30, 1968, the Atlanta Housing
Authority received 2,903 applications.
Of these only 141
were from persons in Atlanta less than six months, whose applications
were rejected.
2. Ttu.~· Comml ttee has brought into being a metropolitan
oriented non-profit fund for promoting projects thro_u ghout
the metropolitan area
. 3.
This committee has encouraged the creation of the Inter-
Faith Housing Group, a non-profit group of churches seeking
to build housing throughout the area.
We have supported and encouraged such organizations as
SWAP which have encouraged the stabilization of neighborhoods
in transition.
We have encouraged the construction of upper income hou·s ing
in the central city and the preservation of existing neighborhoods.
We are mcving to organize a state-wide low cost housing group.
Yet it would seem that your fears aqd ours are not valid.
First of all
as noted above, the Atlanta Housing Authority figures indicate that
there is only a small influx of poor seeking housing.
Secondly, we
cite the following figure from Sales Management- a. publication that
many businesses and planning bodies rely on.
Their figures indicate that low income families are on the decline
in the City limits of Atlanta and higher income on the rise.
3,000 or less
3,000 or less
10,000 or more
10,000 or more
The poor families dropped 2.8% and the $10,000.00 or better increased 4%.
The Atlanta Constitution, in discuss ing a similar effect in the
metropolitan area says,"Last year's increase of some 13,500 in
number of households here also may have influenced the unusual
trends, particularly if most of them represent migrants moving
into relatively well paid jobs heI'e."
We do not know what part housing plays in attra cting poor people
to Atlanta, but we are convinced that °jobs, schools, community
services, and the racial relations here, as contrasted with the
rural areas, attract far more than housing.
If we want to stop the poor who do· come to Atlanta we should also
stop the Fo~ward Atlanta program, the efforts of the local businessmen to find jobs for the hard-core unemployed,the Community Chest and
�-6-· .
let race relations deteriorate.
In short, stop every effort of
these last years that is making Atlanta great in our own eyes
and across the nation.
One thing we do need to do is to move on rapidly with the NASHP.ANS and other urban renewal projects.
The problem with this
pr_ogram is not that we . are building too much housi_ng ( the need is
there with or without clearance projects)
but that we are lagging
in our slum clearance efforts.
We are vigorously opposed to any slowing down of this program while
such places as Vine City, Lightnin', Plunkett Town, Summerhill,
Mechanicsville, and severe overcrowding even in the better areas
In order to help this program and,wc believe, benefit the entire
city, we are asking the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to take the
following actions.
We request the Mayor to appoint either an existing committee
or a new committee to assume the reponsibility for the housing
program in the Board.
We do not believe you are "the bad guys"--we want and need your
assistance .
Revise the Building Code for the City of Atlanta at least to
allow experimental housing to be built in the Model Cities
It has been made clear to us that such action is needed if
Atlanta is to qualify in the Model Cities experimental housing pr_ograms .
Revise the ordinance governing non-conforming use of land
to allow structural repairs to dwelling units.
We understand that .t he Planning Commission has this under
We urge haste
in this matter to allow the
enforcement of the .Housing Code in areas of non-conforming
Accelerate the urban renewal program particularly in the
NASH-BANS, Vine City area, and others outside of the Model
Cities area which is moving.
As long as the horrible conditions in some of these areas
exists, we are asking for trouble--we are inhumane and we
are not a great city.
Authorize the Atlanta Housing Authority to ask for 2,000
additional units of public hou~ing. _
The present allocations are used up and developers are being
turned away.
As stated above, 4,640 additional unit s are needed to complete
the program .
-8- .
We recommend that a substantial part of this housing should
be built by the Authority itself so that it can select sites.
Finally, we request that a revised District Zoning Map be
This map should be based on the new land use map of
the city after careful review of that map.
As a part of this ~ap, we ask that sufficient land be zoned to·
more than meet the requirements of this program both in low
cost single family 9-wellings and in multi-family units.
We further suggest that the District Zoning Map be updated on
a periodic basis, say every four years.
The last rezoning of the City was done in 1954.
As you gentlemen
well know, the map is now seriously inadequate and the City is
constantly being rezoned by individuals seeking changes.
method keeps the City in constant turmoil (one group has even
opened a liquor ·store to raise money to fight rezoning.)
method undermines property values in adjacent areas and causes
people to oppose all zoning because there is not certainty
changes will not continue.
You gentlemen and the Planning
Department should, we believe, control zoning by positive action
rather than react to individual requests .
Furthermore, our Workable Program requires that the Zoning Map
be updated periodically.
The scattering of relatively small sites throughout the City will
prevent large concentrations of public housing with all its attendant problems .
It will further allow people to live near their work.
The vast pile~up of people transferring buses in .the center of Atlanta is clear indication that many _live miles from their jobs in the
northeast and northwest.
Not only would housing close to jobs aid .
the employee and employer, it also would cut down appreciably on
We are not proposing specific areas at this time.
These should be
carefully selected by the Planning Department, the Aldermen, the
Housing Authority, and, we hope, the Housing Resources Committee.
assume that the total changes would be spread before the public in open
We do not believe that it is feasible as has been suggested that,
before any more housing is built, those s ect i ons of the city wher e hous ing doe s not exist must be brought up to all other areas .
The land
at the nec es sary price is just not available .
Furt hermore, we have indi cat i ons t hat efforts will be made to use this
rezoning t o "get even" with one part of t he c i t y or a nother.
Gentlemen, we developed this program because we do acknowledge that,
due to the location of open, le ss expensive land, the developers have
. sort out areas to the West, East, Southeast and Southwest.
We ask
this rezoning, a difficult task for you, because we believe that it
is right, that it is ·healthy for the City, and it is a real effort
not to strain the resources of a particular area of the City.
we do not believe for a moment that we can equalize low income
housing or any other city function throughout the city.
This is,
however a sincere effort to alleviate but not ~mmediately cure an
- - ) ' inbalance.
We urge you to proceed.
These, then are our requests:
A committee of the Aldermen concerned with housing.
Revised Building Code.
Revised Non-Conforming Use Ordinance.
Stepped-up urban renewal.
2,000 more public housing units.
Updated District Zoning Map including areas for low income
Gentlemen, we are in the middle of a new revolution that makes the
old industrial revolution look like a footnote in history.
American immigrants, are moving from the rural areas into our urban
They come at a time when we are beset wi th problems.
The poor and uneducated people already in our cities are ill-equipped
to compete.
We have built a totally artificial culture.
chop down logs and build himself a cabin.
and knowledge to trade for this house.
it will not_ go away.
No longer can a man
He must have the skills
We created this society and
It I s like this--either we house our poor or
we have within our midsts, if not in this generation, then certainly
in the next, an alienated people ready to grasp by force what we
would not provide when there was yet time •

,,£.'~-.. .--'· ,.:t. ;e,:

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~ ( ~~¼'""--Cec.:i:l A. Alexander, Chairman
Housing Resources Commit~ee
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