As in most American cities, jobs have left central Atlanta where its transit agency, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), would best serve commuters. Consequently:
- Atlanta ranks 91st of the nation’s 100 largest metropolises for job access via public transportation;
- Less than 4% of the region’s jobs are accessible by a 45-minute transit commute;
- Working-class downtown residents spend twice as long commuting by transit versus car; and
- Families that earn annually between $20,000 and $50,000 spend 61% of annual income on housing and transportation costs.
Although the region boasts the second most affordable housing market in the nation, it ranks 44th in annual transportation costs, and higher-earning households are not exempt from this trend. Eighty percent of typical households earning more than $58,000 annually spend 45% of their annual income on housing and transportation costs. Developing transit-oriented affordable housing can reduce these costs for moderate- and low-income families, increase transit ridership, and create more access to job and educational opportunities.
Atlanta’s affordability faces more challenges in the years ahead. As in other metropolitan housing markets, Atlanta’s youthful population (33% of population is Gen Y or Millennial, and 64% is single) will likely support greater transit accessibility and development intensity, generating greater demand and allowing for higher rents in TOD areas. On the other end of the age “barbell,” the Atlanta Regional Commission reports that by 2030, one in five residents will be over the age of 60. TOD can also support their aging-in-place experience, and ensure they remain linked to the services and amenities that support a high quality of life.
Enterprise and its partners established the TransFormation Alliance, the Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Strategy (MITODIS), the Atlanta Beltline Affordable Housing Trust Fund (BAHTF), and the Proactive Preservation through Partnerships (PPP) program to maximize economic and financial opportunities for expanding affordable housing.
- The TransFormation Alliance is a collaboration among community advocates, policy experts, transit providers, nonprofit and for-profit developers and government agencies. The Alliance promotes community building practices that link communities around transit with opportunities to thrive. Our work will foster a more prosperous, equitable and competitive metro Atlanta.
- MITODIS sets a long-term strategy for leveraging the BAHTF to create 5,600 owner- or renter-occupied affordable units in the next 25 years. The strategy focuses on acquiring and rehabilitating foreclosed property, extending affordability covenants on existing affordable properties, and leveraging BAHTF funds to secure complementary funding sources.
- To date, the BAHTF has capitalized $8.8 million to provide down-payment assistance to homebuyers and incentives to affordable-housing developers, helping to create 120 affordable units along the Atlanta Beltline.
- PPP preserves the affordability of expiring, distressed, or at-risk multi-family properties by identifying opportunities for expiring LIHTC and HUD-subsidized properties, affordable homes near transit and/or employment centers, and other assets and provides technical assistance to renters and homeowners.