Cross-community concerns: the Housing Crisis Roundtable Discussion II via Rep Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Yesterday's price isn't today's price. And when it comes to housing, this mantra cuts across multiple segments of the community.
On the evening of October 3, 2023 (from 5:30-7:30pm), Congressman Hank Johnson's office (GA-04) hosts the Housing Crisis Roundtable Discussion II at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Lithonia/Stonecrest, GA (which is part of the representative's district). While the primary focus is on affordable housing via HUD, the conversation extends to the housing situation overall, especially given the recent spike in price points in Atlanta, the Metro-Atlanta area (click HERE for a previous article regarding rent increases), and essentially, across the country.
The nearly at-capacity attendance draws a wide array of residents from the immediate area and throughout the district. The scheduled panelists include Rep Johnson, State Senator Tonya Anderson, State Representative Billy Mitchell, DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, and Clarkston Councilwoman YT Bell. Representatives from Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Atlanta Legal Aid, along with other HUD approved agencies and community organizations are also in attendance.
The first hour of the roundtable is dedicated to panelist presentations. Key topics covered include information and awareness of programs and related services to provide access to resources for accessible housing (note the video snapshots provided):
The second hour is dedicated to the q/a portion. At least 20 members of the audience take advantage of the time to ask questions of the panelists. Ranging from process, protocols, areas of concern, and feedback on possible ways to control costs and improve access, the conversation not only focuses on affordable housing, but larger issues within housing costs and access (note the video snapshots provided):
After the main roundtable, Ms. Patrice B. Duncan (the Chief Operations Officer of D&E, The Power Group), takes time to speak with us to provide a recap of the roundtable, but to share information regarding the resources her organization provides (you may watch the full interview below):
Likewise, Ms. Cindie Brown, a Certified Housing Counselor from The Homeowners Employment Corporation, provides awareness of the services provided by her organization in being an improved "bridge" regarding concerns and access for housing (you may watch the full interview below):
Housing costs the board is an area of concern. With the possibility of this being an ongoing series, a few questions are apparent during our time at the roundtable:
How do we improve access to resources and opportunities for affordable and accessible housing?
What can be done (policy and related actions/enforcement) to better contain costs which are clearly increasing?
When it comes to housing, there's an apparent crisis and clearly areas of concern.
And it involves more than just the community served by affordable housing.
Notes: Due to a prior engagement, we arrive about 45-50 minutes after the roundtable starts.