In a new initiative, Atlanta Housing (AH) is offering 2,000 subsidized rent vouchers to landlords to expand the city’s affordable housing supply.

AH will begin soliciting landlords of planned and existing complexes across the city to participate in the project-based voucher program. By designating a portion of their apartments for low-income renters who rely on federal rent subsidies, they’ll receive a steady income stream, the public housing authority told Al ilmu.

The agency will issue an online notice to property owners and developers that it’s offering public funding through the new project-based rent vouchers “to support the delivery of new affordable units within the city of Atlanta,” AH spokesperson Jeff Dickerson said in an email.

Unlike standard Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers, which AH awards directly to low-income renters to cover rent wherever landlords will accept them, the project-based vouchers are tied to specific properties. Property owners approved for the new vouchers must execute a 20-year Housing Assistance Payment contract with the housing authority to guarantee that they’re creating housing that’s long-term affordable.

One attractive feature of the project-based vouchers for landlords is the higher income ceiling for tenants. Many landlords refuse to rent to tenants who rely on government help, partly because of a perceived stigma in inviting low-income people to live alongside tenants paying market rates.

To qualify for one of the subsidized units, tenant households must earn less than 80% of the area median income (about $77,000 for a family of four). By contrast, Housing Choice—or Section 8—vouchers are typically for people making below 50% of area median income. Both programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through local housing authorities like AH.

Like Housing Choice vouchers, the project-based vouchers will cover most of the rent for tenants. “Eligible residents will pay no more than 30% of their adjusted gross income in rent, and Atlanta Housing pays the difference between the tenant rent and the contract rent,” Dickerson said.

AH is introducing the property-based vouchers to encourage higher quality properties charging market rents to accept tenants who use federal subsidies—including new properties under development. By contrast, complexes that are entirely for Section 8 renters can be poorly maintained, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Dangerous Dwellings” investigation revealed.

In a tight rental market where affordable housing is scarce, many people who’ve obtained Section 8 vouchers through AH’s Housing Choice Voucher Program can’t find a place that will rent to them. And the need for subsidized housing is high: AH has a waitlist of around 25,000 people for housing choice vouchers.

One local housing expert, Georgia State University sociology professor Deirdre Oakley, told Al ilmu she’s skeptical that AH can entice enough landlords to participate in its new initiative to create 2,000 new government-subsidized rentals.

“We already know that people who are lucky enough to get a tenant-based voucher are having a difficult time leasing because of the pervasive gentrification going on,” she said, nodding to the multifamily developers in the current market who are producing far more luxury apartments than affordable housing units.

Dickerson, however, said AH believes the prospect of reliable rental income from the government will attract buy-in from landlords.

“Owners and developers seeking funding for their affordable projects find Atlanta Housing’s project-based vouchers extremely helpful in sustaining their operation, due to the long-term commitment of a 20-year contract,” he said, adding that the rent subsidies increase annually with operating costs.

Dickerson said landlords at existing properties who sign project-based voucher contracts could begin offering the affordable rentals within a year. For new construction, he added, it will take at least 18 months.

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17 Comments

  1. Good luck. Sign up for section 8 and sign your property rights away for 20 years. Let me tell you how this is going to play out. yeah you might get your market rate rent but then you're going to end up with a crime problem and AHA is going to come back and say you need to do something about the crime but you can't evict the people that are causing the issues and once that happens the property will be ineligible to receive section 8 and then you end up on the city problem landlord list. You try to move in standard market rate renters and they won't because they can afford to go elsewhere and you have a slum.

    Every policy person and criminologist knows poverty always reconcentrates bring back the public housing and be done with it. Private market will never accept this burden especially how landlords were treated during covid and all the restrictions and protections. Property taxes and mortgages were still due but they didn't care. For the owners who did sign up for the covid relief it came with so many strings attached. Bring back public housing.....

  2. Good morning,
    I currently have the Housing Choice voucher in Atlanta (Fulton County) and would like to move into one of these new listings. The location I'm currently in is more for residents with “mobility issues”. How do I get more information or submit my application to obtain one of these new listings. gmxxl info, sandypope888
    Thank You

    1. Hi my name is Carl Walker, I'm in danger of Eviction due to a moment of Hardship still steaming from the (pandemic) I was awarded the Ga rental assistance, but landlord never got paid, leaving me with the struggle to keep up on rent. On top of that it came as I am in process of changing jobs. So now I have been given a chance to payoff my debt, but with no income at the time of rent I'm now in danger of Eviction, I have teen girls living with me, my oldest daughter is suffering from stage four cancer and she's in and out of the Hospital. Now she's been scheduled for Hospice and cry's to me that she don't want to die in Hospice. I've been to Gateway for help, spoken to Salvation army, and many more to only come up short. Please if I can get help for October and November, I think I can make it through with the new job. Please please help

  3. I'm a guardian grandmother who was giving a voucher due to my daughter passing who was a section 8 voucher participant and it was transferred to me because I have guardianship of her kids, since then I've had nothing but landlords issues, I'm sorry but my story has can be more explained if I can speak with someone. I feel that it landlords are getting 2,000 they should rent safe clean and habitable housing, but that's the issue I'm having, and I've been trying to get some help but 👎

  4. I am a senior having trouble finding affordable housing I am currently displaced and staying with a friend Would I qualify for an emergency voucher I have applied for Marrietta housing I am on the waiting list in DeKalb I need some resources for immediate housing

  5. Having been here for 6 yrs in the same home downtown, having to move due to mold in my home has put me in a very vicarious situation. Landlords in the more desirable areas don’t want to accept the voucher & the ones that do are in ths worst area, dilapidated & unkept. It would help if these same properties would just accept the voucher as well!!

  6. I am a landlord and accept vouchers from several PHA's (Public Housing Authorities) in the Atlanta area. The problem is not with the tenant's but with the unfair practices of the Housing Authorities toward the landlord. They wrongfully “recoup” payments from landlords without cause. They randomly withhold landlord payments without proper notice or procedure. They have no accountablility and the landlord has no options to be heard except through expensive and lengthy court litigation. Someone needs to be a voice for the landlords for the voucher programs to succeed.

  7. I currently have a housing choice voucher
    I’ve been looking for a better place to live
    The property I’m living in now is up to standards management has changed at least five times in the past six months and they have been moving in all kinds of new people that don’t really care about their homes or the property so many pit bull dogs have moved into this property and I am afraid of them my up stairs neighbors are extremely aggressive and loud all day and night so many break in here and at this point I just don’t feel comfortable or safe living here anymore I just need a better place to live and be safe I’m almost 66 years old and I’m just afraid to live here now I am trying to get into a senior building how do I go about getting out of my lease here with out breaking the lease please respond

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