Gwinnett County is taking major steps to address the affordable housing crisis by allocating $18 million from federal and state programs to expand affordable options.
This funding will help provide stable, safe housing for low-income families earning less than 65% of the area median income.
With rising rents and home prices, many Gwinnett residents are being priced out of the county. This influx of funding aims to curb that trend by supporting the development and preservation of affordable housing units.
Where is the Money Coming From?
The $18 million comes from various federal and state programs, including:
- American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
- HOME Investment Partnerships Program
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program
- State and local fiscal recovery funds
Gwinnett County was awarded these funds to help address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. By investing this money into affordable housing, the county hopes to aid pandemic recovery while tackling housing affordability issues.
Expanding Affordable Housing Supply
The Gwinnett Housing Development Fund will provide financing for projects that increase the supply of affordable units. This includes new construction, land/property acquisition, rehabilitating existing buildings and adaptive reuse projects.
With metro Atlanta rents rising over 30% since 2020, adding affordable inventory is critical. The fund aims to create quality rental homes for families earning $49,000 or less annually. Units for seniors on fixed incomes are also badly needed.
Preserving Existing Affordable Housing
In addition to creating new affordable housing, the fund will also preserve existing affordable units. Older income-restricted properties are often lost to redevelopment. The fund will enable the county to maintain this invaluable housing stock.
According to the Gwinnett County Consolidated Plan 2020-2024, over 90% of affordable units are owned by private landlords. Preservation incentives are key to maintaining long-term affordability as properties age.
Project Funding and Selection
The application deadline for funding is October 30, 2022. County officials will select projects for funding awards by the end of the year.
Eligible projects include:
- Construction of new affordable housing units
- Land/property acquisition
- Rehabilitation of existing buildings
- Preservation of current income-restricted units
- Adaptive reuse of non-residential buildings
The maximum award per project is $2 million. Funds will be awarded as 0% interest loans with deferred payments.
Applicants must adhere to affordability requirements for a minimum of 15 years. Priority will be given to projects achieving deeper affordability levels, serving lower incomes and located near transit.
The Impact of Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is crucial for the health of families, communities and the economy. When individuals spend over 30% of income on housing, it strains budgets and causes instability.
By expanding affordable options, Gwinnett County aims to promote equity, improve quality of life, attract businesses and enable economic mobility for residents.
Stable housing also provides a platform for success in education, employment, health care and other areas. Affordable housing benefits the entire community.
Gwinnett Leading the Way on Affordability
With bold investments in affordable housing, Gwinnett County is leading metro Atlanta in addressing this critical need. County leaders recognize housing stability as a human right.
This influx of $18 million will make meaningful progress in giving lower-income families access to safe, quality and affordable homes. Increasing supply, preserving existing units and promoting inclusive development will help ensure all Gwinnett residents can thrive and participate fully in the local economy.
The Gwinnett Housing Development Fund highlights the county’s commitment to affordable housing as both an economic and moral imperative. This funding represents a major milestone in creating stronger, more diverse and vibrant communities across Gwinnett County.