Land Donation Accelerates Affordable Homeownership in Atlanta’s East Lake Neighborhood
Gift from The CF Foundation, in partnership with the East Lake Foundation, allows the Atlanta Land Trust to step boldly forward in its innovative, city-wide approach to housing affordability
The Atlanta Land Trust (ALT) is bringing new, permanently affordable housing to the city’s East Lake community, thanks to a two-acre land donation from The CF Foundation, which has spearheaded revitalization efforts in the neighborhood since 1993, in partnership with the East Lake Foundation. The announcement comes as ALT is leading the way towards a more sustainable approach to affordable housing in Atlanta by expanding homeownership throughout the city, including along the Atlanta BeltLine, and in neighborhoods such as Oakland City, Grove Park, and Pittsburgh. Over the next five years, ALT will collaborate with residents in Atlanta’s neighborhoods to create 300 permanently affordable, energy-efficient homes.
“We couldn’t do the work we do without the generous support from partners like The CF Foundation and East Lake Foundation,” said Amanda Rhein, executive director for the Atlanta Land Trust. “They understand the fundamental role affordable homeownership plays in improving economic mobility for low-income households. This builds upon their decades of work to improve outcomes for families in East Lake.”
ALT is partnering with the DaVinci Development Collaborative on the development of the Trust at East Lake, which will include 40 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units ranging from 600 square feet to 1,500 square feet with sales prices starting at $155,000. ALT aims to make half of the units affordable to families making at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) —$68,960 for a family of four. The balance of units will be affordable to families making between 80 and 120% of AMI.
Affordable housing, including The Trust at East Lake and other existing and under construction apartment homes, is part of the East Lake Foundation’s initiative to help individuals build a better life for themselves and future generations through equitable cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing, and community wellness. The East Lake Foundation and ALT will work closely with the Villages of East Lake’s Resident and Community Support Program to ensure current East Lake residents are prepared to take advantage of these homeownership opportunities in their community.
“The CF Foundation is proud to support the work of Atlanta Land Trust, particularly in the East Lake community, where we’ve seen the kind of neighborhood revitalization that can happen when organizations like ALT get the support they need to change lives,” said Lillian Giornelli, president of the CF Foundation. “Perhaps nothing is more critical to the success of families and communities than high-quality, affordable housing. The beauty about supporting ALT is that they’re addressing the housing affordability crisis in Atlanta not just for today’s families, but for tomorrow’s generation as well.”
Slated for completion in fall 2025, the Trust at East Lake is one of three multi-unit projects ALT is undertaking to mitigate gentrification utilizing a comprehensive, equity-driven approach that connects people, place, and quality of life. The community land trust model utilized by ALT provides for permanent affordability through a dual-ownership arrangement, in which low-income families purchase and own only the house, while leasing the underlying land from ALT. If and when the owner chooses to sell their home, resale restrictions ensure it will remain affordable for the next family, even as the seller benefits from equity they created while in the home. The renewable, inheritable, ground lease means each home can provide affordable housing to approximately 16 families over the initial 99-year term, assuming an average tenure of 6 years.
Rhein noted that the gift was made on the heels of Black History Month, which is particularly fitting given ALT’s and the East Lake Foundation’s commitment to racial equity. ALT is working to help close the racial wealth gap by increasing access to homeownership for Black families, which has fallen over the last 20 years. From 2000 to 2017, Black homeownership rates declined by 5.5 percent, while overall homeownership rates increased by 14 percent, leaving out nearly 3,000 would-be Black homeowners in Atlanta.
The CF Foundation’s gift supports ALT’s broader efforts to raise $11 million in support of the development of 120 units across three sites in the city of Atlanta. Other key contributors to ALT’s capital campaign include The Kendeda Fund, which supports the acquisition of a 3.5-acre site in Oakland City, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, The Fraser-Parker Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, the East Lake Foundation, The Tull Charitable Foundation, Invest Atlanta and pro bono support from Eversheds Sutherland. Donations in support of this effort can be made on ALT’s website at atllandtrust.org/get-involved/donate.
About Atlanta Land Trust
The mission of Atlanta Land Trust is to deliver and steward permanently affordable housing to support inclusive, equitable communities near the Atlanta BeltLine and other targeted areas in the city of Atlanta. Founded in 2009, the Atlanta Land Trust operates as a community land trust, which allows low-income homeowners to benefit from the equity built through homeownership, while at the same time permanently preserving the affordability of these homes to benefit generations of families. ALT is working to ensure that all Atlantans have affordable housing options in communities of opportunity and the ability to build wealth through homeownership.
About East Lake Foundation
Founded in 1995 by developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools and equitable opportunities that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its integrated model for community revitalization.
The East Lake model includes cradle-to-college education at Drew Charter School and its early learning partners (Atlanta Speech School, the East Lake Family YMCA, and Sheltering Arms East Lake); mixed-income housing at The Villages of East Lake; and community wellness through its Resident and Community Support Program and partners’ programs including The First Tee® of Metro Atlanta at the Charlie Yates Course, Start:ME East Lake, a micro-entrepreneurship program with Emory University, and the East Lake YMCA’s East Lake Healthy Connections. This approach to building a strong community not only helps break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, but also creates a place where people of all ages and incomes choose to live.
The redevelopment of East Lake has become a national model for integrated and holistic community redevelopment in 27 additional neighborhoods across the country through Purpose Built Communities. For more information, please visit www.eastlakefoundation.org.
About DaVinci Development
DaVinci Development is a local, boutique real estate development management and advisory firm who helps clients create mission-driven places through collaboration and a multi-disciplined approach to its projects.