Atlanta Regional Housing

News & Updates

HOUSING FORUM: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

August 19, 2015 Forum, Public Housing No Comments

How will recent changes impact Metro Atlanta’s Communities?

Atlanta Regional Housing Forum, Wednesday, September 2, 2015  

Slides from 9/2/15 Forum
Audio from 9/2/15 Forum

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the matter of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) – a case claiming that Texas had contributed to “segregated housing patterns by allocating too many tax credits to housing in predominantly black inner-city areas and too few in predominantly white suburban neighborhoods.”The Court sided with ICP, allowing statistical data to prove that Texas practices and decisions had discriminatory effects – without proving they were the result of discriminatory intentions.

Soon after the Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released a final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – a requirement to promote and create more diverse and inclusive communities that has been in the Fair Housing Act since 1968, but essentially never enforced.

According to the final rule, “affirmatively furthering fair housing” means taking meaningful actions that address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.

The greater metro Atlanta region exhibits every indication that it, too, has a fair housing issue. The region ranks the lowest in the nation in income mobility; has one in four households with severe housing cost burden; has wide disparity in housing recovery from neighborhood to neighborhood; and many troubling exclusionary zoning policies.

HUD’s new rule will most assuredly impact the use of funds in Community Development Block Grants, public housing authority programs, HOME funding and more. How will our region’s housing leaders and state officials address this rule and how may it impact ongoing housing concerns?

Join us for the next quarterly Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on September 2 as we discuss these matters.


Mike Carnathan, Researcher, Atlanta Regional Commission

Mike Carnathan is a researcher with the Atlanta Regional Commission and is one of the founders of Neighborhood Nexus, which is a community intelligence system for the Atlanta region, providing data, tools and expertise as a catalyst to create opportunity for all of the region’s citizens.  The goal is to foster a data-driven decision-making culture in the Atlanta region and beyond.  Mike oversees the compilation of thousands of variables and indicators that tell the data story about the Atlanta region. And story-telling is key. One of Mike’s chief challenges is to help community groups tell their story better through a data-driven approach.  Mike has worked with numerous community groups, including the Annie E Casey Foundation, Families First, United Way, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, along with a host of statewide and local education agencies and other community groups to help them better understand the neighborhoods in which they work. In addition to being a data geek, Mike has a varied background that includes public relations and journalism. This experience comes in handy as one of the critical uses of data is to tell the right story about our community to help community leaders make better decisions. A native of Georgia, Mike holds degrees in History and Journalism, along with a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Ethan Handelman, Vice President for Policy & Advocacy, National Housing Conference

Ethan directs NHC’s policy and advocacy agenda focused on advancing federal housing policy to assist low- and moderate-income people, strengthening the nation’s housing finance system, restoring neighborhoods damaged by foreclosures and disinvestment, advocating for housing policy during tax and budgetary reforms, and building stronger communities that coordinate, housing, transportation, health, education and energy policy. He has testified before Congress and speaks and writes regularly on housing issues.  Ethan joined NHC in March, 2011, after leading the advisory practice at Recap Real Estate Advisors, assisting public- and private-sector clients to understand and shape the affordable housing financial and policy environment. Ethan received his MA in International Relations from Harvard University and holds a BA in Political Science from University of Michigan.  He serves on the board of Housing Unlimited, a nonprofit housing provider in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Laurel Hart, Director of the Housing Finance and Development Division, Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Laurel L. Hart is director of the Housing Finance and Development Division at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). In this position, she manages several housing finance resource programs for the financing and/or development of both single family and multi-family affordable housing, including the following multi-family programs: Georgia Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credit Programs and the DCA HOME Multi-family Program. Ms. Hart also oversees DCA’s single family financing and down payment assistance through the Georgia Dream Program.

Tera Doak, Associate General Counsel, Habitat for Humanity International

Tera Doak is Associate General Counsel, Habitat for Humanity International, where she focuses her work on matters relating to the acquisition and sale of real property, mortgages and federal grants.  Before joining Habitat, Tera served as counsel in the commercial real estate group at the Atlanta-based law firm Troutman Sanders.  Prior to that, she held the offices of general counsel and secretary at National Service Industries, where she was responsible for day-to-day legal matters.  She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University in Atlanta and graduated from law school at the Ohio State University.



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