Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta President and CEO Frank Fernandez, center, announced May 2 a partnership to invest $200 million for affordable housing in the city.

The city of Atlanta and the nonprofit philanthropy organization Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta are partnering to invest a historic $200 million in affordable housing.

The announcement was made May 2 by Mayor Andre Dickens and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta President and CEO Frank Fernandez. The funding will go toward the city’s goal of preserving and building 20,000 affordable housing units by 2026.

The Community Foundation has received a $100 million commitment from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation. Dickens and the City Council are also working together to approve a $100 million affordable housing bond. Together, the funding will be used to ensure deeper, long-term affordability for communities with a higher risk of displacement, according to officials.

“Affordable housing has been central in my administration and [this] announcement is a game-changer in our ability to have projects keep pace with a rapidly evolving market,” Dickens said.

“Thank you to the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation for their generosity, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for their steadfast partnership and the Atlanta City Council in advance for their collaboration on this once in a generation opportunity to provide affordability relief for Atlantans,” the mayor said.

The investment would allow the the city to focus on: expediting the development of affordable housing on publicly-owned land; preserving affordability where it already exists with infusions of subsidy to provide safe, dignified and high-quality communities; and secure additional funding needed to get shovel-ready projects under construction.

“In every city, the trends have been moving in the wrong direction for entirely too long and too many people are struggling,” Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta President and CEO Frank Fernandez said.

“But we have a window of time particularly in the next three years to change the trajectory in Atlanta,” he said. “That is why we are moving with urgency to bring together all our partners, to have all hands on deck, and make a lasting change in housing.”

Russ Hardin, CEO of The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, said “the stars are aligned to address the lack of affordable housing in Atlanta.”

“The mayor has made it a top priority, and housing advocates together with experienced real estate professionals have organized – in alignment with the mayor and the Atlanta Housing Authority – to address the issue,” Hardin said.

“The Woodruff and Whitehead Foundations are pleased to invest in the Community Foundation’s leadership, and we are hopeful that the return on our investment will mean well-located, decent, affordable housing for more Atlantans,” Hardin said.

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s funds will go to support low-cost loans and grants for deeper and longer terms of affordability.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.