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Stacey Abrams’ Housing Plan Cites Athens as Georgia’s Least Affordable City

Stacey Abrams, pictured in Athens in 2020.

A new policy paper from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams singles out Athens as having the least affordable housing in the state, compared to Atlanta, Macon, Savannah and Albany.

According to the Abrams campaign, the median annual income in Athens is $51,000, while median housing costs are $1,842 a month, or 43% of the median  income. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends paying no more than 30% of income for housing. Almost half—47%—of Athens residents pay more than that. 

Abrams blamed Gov. Brian Kemp for being slow to spend federal affordable housing funds and allowing corporate landlords to turn tenants out into the street.

Abrams’ plan, announced July 27—the same day she visited Athens for a fundraiser—calls for expanding assistance to first-time homebuyers, increasing funding for the state’s affordable housing trust fund, reforming the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ low-income housing tax credit program, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of source of income, and creating a “circuit breaker” program to help low-income homeowners facing rising property taxes due to gentrification, among other measures. She would also allow local governments to enact laws that protect tenants, require developers to build affordable housing through inclusionary zoning (currently a voluntary program in Athens) and charge developers impact fees that can be spent on affordable housing.

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