Why Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Crisis Wont Get Fixed by Mary Norwood

Mary-Norwood-croppedMary Norwood lives in Buckhead and describes herself as “independent” in a city where much of the permanent public affordable housing was torn down and not replaced. She is not the best candidate to address the city’s affordable housing crisis. She’s out of touch, insensitive, and lacks the experience (Norwood had not even ever chaired a city council committee until he most recent term in office) to lead a city as large and complex and Atlanta.

On Gentrification

Mary Norwood just won’t stay out of the West End. Is she there to court black voters? Perhaps she is there to introduce herself to the many new white residents of this historically African American stronghold community. Or both. Either way, Norwood has to be aware of the rapid gentrification of Southwest and Northwest Atlanta, and the housing affordability crisis which has left many former  black “intown” residents displaced and priced out of their beloved communities. Perhaps that’s why Ms. Norwood sat down to discuss the issue of gentrification with the Buckhead Coalition. We all know how familiar the Buckhead community is with the issues going on on the Westside (side eye).

On Affordable Housing…

During a Mayoral Candidate Survey on Affordable Housing taken in July 2017, candidates were asked to rank issues in importance to Atlanta’s future. Only Ceasar Mitchen and Sen. Vincent Fort ranked housing affordability as the most important issue.  Mary Norwood gave it a 6. Mary Norwood  In fact, Ceasar Mitchell is the only candidate to make mitigating displacement and preserving existing affordable housing his top and immediate priority.

On Homelessness

Atlanta’s homeless are not criminals. Not having a place to live is not a crime; its a tragedy.  Last month, Ms. Norwood attended a candidate forum sponsored by the City for All Housing Coalition and the Transformation Alliance. When asked about what to do next in addressing homelessness and ensuring affordable housing, her response was:

“One of the problems with supportive housing is, people say, ‘I don’t want that in my neighborhood,” Norwood said.  “So it needs to come with security; it needs to be a well-run facility.  Everyone knows what being a good neighbor means. Being a good neighbor is not the kind of neighbor that Peachtree-Pine has been all these years. Lots of great intentions there, but it just hasn’t been a good neighbor.  I think we all understand what that means.”

So instead of talking about real solutions, funding, and creating a division of homeless services, she complained about the unsightliness and undesirability of homeless shelters and how they should be run more like jails or halfway houses????

At an Atlanta mayoral forum sponsored by V103 earlier this month, Norwood  and other candidates were asked about their plans to increase affordable housing in the city. While Mitchell  said he’d “create at least 20,000 affordable housing units in this city,” Ms. Norwood, who drives a Lexus sedan and lives in the poshest section of the city, skated around the issue.

A candidate who does not have clear answers and solutions to this city’s biggest problems is not the person to fix said issues. She has struggled to denounce Trump, paused on answering questions about racial profiling, and is way off on how best to tackle the affordable housing crisis.

AtlDowntownWest endorses current City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. He has lived in Southwest Atlanta (West End) for over 20 years, is passionate and informed about fixing this city’s biggest and growing problem –housing.

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