Affordable Housing in Pittsburgh

A Collaborative Approach to Neighborhood Development in Southwest Atlanta

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

July 28, 2020

Summary

In 2009, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched and led a multipronged approach to revitalize Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood, which has seen some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the state of Georgia. The game plan? Prioritize safe, stable housing, which is necessary for communities to thrive.

This report tells how the Foundation and its partners, working in close collaboration with local residents, redeveloped 43 homes in the neighborhood and then rented or sold these properties at accessible rates.

It includes advice and insights for leaders who are interested in creating more economically inclusive communities, supporting access to safe and affordable housing and, ultimately, combating the tide of displacement that has swept over many communities of color nationwide.

This work is critical — perhaps now more than ever — as neighborhoods across the United States grapple with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

The route to stable housing requires a diverse tool kit

The Casey Foundation and its partners used a mix of tools — including community land trusts, land banking, creative financing sources and down-payment assistance programs — to reduce vacancies, increase homeownership and create a variety of affordable housing options.

Findings & Stats

Neighborhood Challenges

Pittsburgh — a once-thriving African American business district — had lost more than half its  population by 1990. By 2010, 36% of its properties were vacant, spurring greater vandalism and crime.

Prohibitively Pricey

An estimated 95% of the 10,000 new apartments built in Atlanta between 2013–2016 are considered “luxury” — with annual rent for a one-bedroom unit averaging $20,736. Yet in Pittsburgh, a historically African American neighborhood hard hit by the 2008 foreclosure crisis, the average annual income is just $22,819.

Statements & Quotations