Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center
In 2019, the City of Atlanta adopted two plans to better the City: One Atlanta, a commitment to creating or preserving 20,000 affordable housing units by 2026; and Clean Energy Atlanta, a commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2035. While the timing of the two plans was nearly identical, solutions to the challenges they address—housing affordability and climate change—have traditionally existed in separate spheres.
As we begin a new phase of leadership at the City of Atlanta, the opportunity to address two compounding issues affecting Atlanta’s most vulnerable residents—the climate and housing crises—should not be passed up. Atlanta’s priorities and policies must maximize the clean energy output of our affordable housing investments.
Atlanta’s Clean Energy Atlanta plan and commitment to 100% clean energy was inspired by the need to address climate change, which is already increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as downpours and flooding in Atlanta. Individuals facing housing insecurity “are by definition the most exposed to weather conditions and the social and economic problems caused by extreme weather and climate change and variability.”
Meanwhile, the One Atlanta plan commits to “providing a pathway to affordable and equitable housing opportunities for all who desire to call Atlanta home.” In 2016, nearly half of Atlantans spent more than 30% of their income on housing and utility costs, qualifying them as housingcost burdened.