History of DHA's Operations
The Housing Authority of the City of Decatur, Georgia (Decatur Housing Authority or DHA) was established in 1938 with a primary role of building and managing quality affordable housing for low to moderate income families. Over the years, the Housing Authority has expanded its focus to include the revitalization of the Decatur community through the renewal and redevelopment of substandard housing, as well as improving facilities in the downtown area.
COMBINED HOUSING AUTHORITY OPERATIONS:
As previously stated, DHA was formed into a Public Housing Authority in 1938. It operated on its own and created the communities and housing described above. In March of 1971, operation of the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb, Georgia, which as the time was struggling to survive, was assumed by the Decatur Housing Authority and for the next 32 years a joint staff administered both Authorities. While the two agencies had separate boards, they shared virtually all operational functions. The two authorities continued to operate as one until 2003, when the operations of the agencies were again separated. During the 32 years the two authorities where combined, a total of 994 public housing units were developed, 255 units of new seniors housing were built and 1,582 multi-family rental units were purchased and renovated and over $1 billion of tax exempt multi-family and single family housing bonds were issued.
For the past 40 years, the Authority has included the development of projects to create affordable homeownership as an active part of its efforts. In addition to the 2,831 rental units produced, the combined authorities developed two residential subdivisions and built, financed and sold 334 single family homes, 20 townhomes, and 90 condominiums units to stimulate homeownership in Decatur and DeKalb County.
During the 1960's to the 1980's, the Authority played key roles helping the City of Decatur resolve issues of blight and urban decay that were negatively impacting many areas of the City. Throughout this period of Urban Renewal, the Authority provided the backbone for the redevelopment of the western side of downtown Decatur, including assembling and selling land, relocating businesses and residents. These redevelopment efforts resulted in the construction of many new single family homes and senior housing and the development of new office buildings, new government buildings, and public facilities, as well as completion of a number of important infrastructure projects.
In 1976, Decatur was 1 of 23 cities selected to be part of the Urban Homesteading Demonstration Program. Between 1976 and 1982, the Authority acquired 113 vacant and foreclosed houses in the Oakhurst neighborhood. A screening and selection process was created by the Authority, selling the houses to the new owners for $1.00 and providing an average of $25,000 per house in renovation funds, while it oversaw the rehabilitation and reconstruction of these houses. During this time, the Authority also created the Housing Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program. Using innovative efforts to raise funds for low interest loans, the Authority was able to assist 148 existing homeowners with grants and low interest loans to rehabilitate their homes. In a city of just 1,759 homes, 15% were impacted by either the Housing Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program or the Urban Homestead Program. This investment of $3,417,367 to rehabilitate these 261 houses provided a tremendous commitment to reversing the decline that had occurred in this area of the City.
In 2000, DHA became involved in developing non-subsidized for-sale single-family, condominium and townhouse properties in the City. Portions of each of these developments were available as Workforce and Lifecycle Housing to provide affordable homeownership for working households. In 2000 and 2001, the Authority developed 20 non-subsidized new construction townhouse units - Commerce Place with 13 units and Commodore Square with 7 units. A total of five units were sold as Workforce Housing at reduced prices to qualifying City employees.
The Village of Oakhurst, a 10-lot single family neighborhood developed by the Authority and a non-profit affiliate, was completed in 2002. The Authority's affiliate oversaw the design of the house plans, site plan and infrastructure, as well as construction, marketing and sales of the homes. The ten homes with appraised values of $255,000 were sold under the Workforce Housing program for an average of $120,000. The equity is forgiven over 12 years; however, if a sale occurs prior to the end of the 12 year period, the Authority will receive funds that can then be used for future affordable housing efforts. Under the Workforce Program, priority was given to people who lived or worked in Decatur and with incomes not exceeding 80% of AMI.
In 2003 and 2006, the Authority built two-three bedroom, two bath single family homes. The houses were sold at reduced prices, with 5-year forgivable mortgages on the initial equity. The purchasers of these two newly constructed homes were chosen by a drawing from among the Authority's eligible Public Housing residents.
In April 2007, the Authority completed construction of its most ambitious non-subsidized homeownership project. Tally Street Lofts is a 90 unit condominium complex located at the corner of Talley Street and Sam Street. The project was the first new residential housing in Decatur's Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) area, which is designated by the city to be revitalized and become a residential and retail area. The project was also the first developed under the City's Lifecycle Housing ordinance, which allows a density bonus when a Lifecycle Housing component is included. This 4-story building includes a secured parking deck, conference room, pool, fitness center and club room and individual storage units. The initial price range was one and two bedroom units starting $119,900 (two bedroom/one bath - Lifecycle) to $219,000 (two bedroom/two bath - market rate). The 15 lifecycle units were sold at reduced prices and included resale restrictions to insure the affordability of these units for periods of 10 to 20 years.
Continuing its mission to provide affordable rental housing, in November 2008 the Authority completed construction of a new three-unit rental on Olympic Avenue. This newly constructed triplex and an existing fourplex on Olympic Avenue, along with two single family homes, are managed as a part of the Spring Pointe Community as workforce or market rate housing. This non-subsidized rental property was developed using earned non-federal Authority funds. Recently, DHA added Chateau Apartments, a six unit community, to its workforce housing.
CURRENT AND PAST PROGRAMS
Over the past several decades, the Housing Authority of the City of Decatur has played an integral role in the conception and completion of many revitalization projects in the City of Decatur. These efforts include the following proficiencies:
- Homeownership Sales and Development
- Land Assembly
- Housing Assistance
- Management of Rental Property
- Urban Revitalization
- Real Estate Development
- Tax Credit Management
- Summer Camps
- Job Readiness and Access to Employment
- Afterschool Programs
Listed below are some of the projects that were initiated by the Housing Authority or resulted from Authority programs.
- Affordable Housing
- Allen Wilson Terrace
- Allen Wilson Revitalization
- Calloway Building
- Clark Harrison Building
- Commerce Place Townhouses
- Commodore Square Townhouses
- Craftmaster Building Renovation
- Decatur High School Athletic Field
- DeKalb County Courthouse
- Ebster Park Pool & Recreation Area
- Ebster Soccer Field
- Elderly Occupied housing rehabilitation
- Gateway Apartments
- Housing rehabilitation - owner-occupied
- Land Acquisition for Decatur HS Campus
- Land Acquisition for Public Improvements
- Manuel J. Maloof Administrative Center
- Office Building - 325 Swanton Way
- Park Trace
- One West Court Square
- Rose Walk Community
- Spring Pointe Apartments
- Swanton Heights
- Swanton Hill Neighborhood
- Swanton Way Office Condominiums
- Talley Street Lofts
- Urban Homesteading (113 homes)
- Village at Oakhurst
- Allen Wilson Revitalization
- Gateway Revitalization
- Swanton Heights Revitalization