Box 5, Folder 7, Document 29

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AUGUST 2, 1968 ‘7.72

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Tel. 522-4463 Area Code 404


Housing Resources Committee

Housing Coordinator

"I am appearing before you as Chairman of the Housing Resources |
Committee of the City of Atlanta. In November 1966, we were
charged by the Mayor to assist by all means soeatbae the con-
struction of 16,800 units of low and moderate income housing
units. These units were to serve as relocation for persons to
be moved by urban renewal, new roads, schools, and other govern-

ment action.

As of May 15 we stood as follows:
Units completed 2,031
Under construction 5,108
In planning 7,151
Total in sight 14,290
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 4,640 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.


In addition to the replacement housing we need, the total re-
quirement 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. White
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 needntopnticta tien and exploitation.
But this Committee feels that our requests are justified in terms
of the successful Anterior 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. It
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. Even Public Housing makes payment to the City
in lieu of taxes, All pay, even if at a reduced rate. It is weil
known that slums absorb an inordinate amount of taxes in the extra
police protection, fire protection and sanitary services. When we
eliminate slums we also eliminate considerable profitless drain of
tax dollars. The Housing program will presumably put over
$170,000,000,00 in construction costs into Atlanta's economy during
construction; jobs will be created during construction and long
after in management and maintenance. We submit that the net effect
‘on the City will be increased tax yield and substantial improvement
in the overall economy. .

The point was also made that if we enforce the laws against over-

crowding, the people would have no place to go but Fulton and

DeKalb enue We approve of the enforcement of the law, but
challenge the assumption of knowing where the displaced would
go. If history repeats, they will stay as close by as possible
and "block bust" adjoining neighborhoods, unless a definite

program is set up to relocate them.

One of the T.V. stations warned us that you would want several

questions answered today. They are good questions--we believe

we have good answers.

1. Why don't we look for sites already zoned for apartments?
ANSWER: We have--the developers haeae 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. Thesite selected must be
priced right, it must satisfy H.U.D., the Atlanta Housing
Authority, F.H.A., schools must be avatieles utilities
must be in, terrain must be feasible and so on.

2. What is to prevent prices on rezoned land from soaring?
ANSWER: The more land stalivbie, the lower the prices should

3. Is the iaundng Reine Badtt being used by ddeplaced Atianta

people or is it making Atlanta a dumping ground for the poor?
ANSWER: 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 for acceptance in public housing.


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 Houstng
Authority received 2,903 applications. Of these only 141

were from persons in Atlanta less than six months , whose applications
were rejected.

2. This Committee has brought into being a metropolitan
oriented non-profit fund for promoting projects throughout

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.

4. We have supported and encouraged such organizations as

SWAP which have encouraged the stabilization of neighborhoods
in transition.

5. We have encouraged the construction of upper income housing
in the central city and the preservation of existing neighbor-

6. We are moving to organize a state-wide low cost housing group.

Yet it would seem that your fears and 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.

1966 3,000 or less - _ 23.7%
1967 3,000 or less 20.9%
1966 10,000 or more 22.9%
1967 . . 10,000 or more 26.9%

The poor families dropped 2.8% and the $10,000.00 or better in-

creased 4%.

The Atlanta Constitution, in discussing 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 here."

We do not know what part housing plays in attracting 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 Forward Atlanta program, the efforts of the local business-

men to find jobs for the hard-core unemployed,the Community Chest and

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 NASH-
PANS and other urban renewal projects. The problem with this
program is not that we are building too much housing (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,we believe, benefit the entire
city, we are asking the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to take the
following actions.
1. 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


2 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 hous-
ing programs.

3. Revise the ordinance governing non-conforming use of land
, to allow structural repairs to dwelling units.

We understand that the Planning Commission has this under
consideration. We urge haste in this matter to allow the
enforcement of the Housing Code in areas of non-conforming


4. 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 ee a great city.

5. Authorize the Atlanta Housing Authority to ask for 2,000
additional units of public housing.

The present allocations are used up and developers are being

turned away.

As stated above, 4,640 additional units are needed to complete

the program.

We recommend that a substantial part of this housing should
be built by the Authority itself so that it can select sites.
6. Finally, we request that a revised District Zoning Map be
adopted. 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 map, we ask that sufficient land be zoned to

more than meet the requirements of this program both in low

cost single family dwellings 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 seeing changes. This
method keeps the City in constant turmoil (one group has even
opened a liquor store to raise money to fight rezoning.) This
method undermines property values in adjacent areas and causes
people to oppose all zoning because there is not certainty that
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 attend-
ant problems. It will further allow people to live near their work.
The vast pile-up of people transferring buses in the center of At-
lanta 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. We

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 sections of the city where hous-

ing does not exist must be brought up to all other areas. The land

at the necessary price is just not available.

Furthermore, we have indications that efforts will be made to use this

rezoning to "get even" with one part of the city or another.
g g p y

Gentlemen, we developed this program because we do acknowledge that,

due to the location of open, less 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 aca effort
not to strain the resources of a particular area of the City. But
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 immediately cure an.
“inbalance. We urge you to proceed. .


These, then are our requests:

1. A committee of the Aldermen concerned with housing.

2. Revised Building Code.

3. Revised Non-Conforming Use Ordinance.

4. Stepped-up urban renewal.

§. 2,000 more public housing units.

6. Updated District Coning Map Pelvates 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. People,
American immigrants, are moving from the rural areas into our urban

centers. They come at a time when we are beset with problems.

The poor and uneducated people already in our cities are ill-equipped

to compete.

We have built a totally artificial culture. No longer can a man

chop down logs and build himself a cabin. He must have the skills

and knowledge to trade for this house. We created this society and

it will not go away. It'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.

= e < ° Ae. Vie FOX i
fo CELE: " : EL peek
cecil A. ie. Chairman
Housing Resources Committee

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