State experts, lawmakers stress the importance of affordable housing in Georgia

It’s hard to find starter homes for families that start at $150,000.
Georgia lawmakers focus on affordable housing
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:50 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:54 AM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - In the second week of the legislative session, lawmakers meet to set the budget for the state. Experts are urging lawmakers to take action and address affordable housing during this year’s session.

Senator Blake Tillery, Senate Appropriations Chairman, invited experts to give presentations at the start of the appropriations hearings while the lawmakers present ideas for the budget.

“There is nothing in this building that directly touches more of your constituents than what is on this document,” said Tillery.

Lawmakers discussed the state’s rapid growth and the need for more affordable housing. Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman said as companies move to Georgia, the state needs workers.

“The last piece of the puzzle to attracting more workers to come to Georgia is more affordable housing,” said Dorfman.

Dorfman points to affordable, not just low-income housing. He says it’s hard to find starter homes for families that start at $150,000. The median price for a Georgia home is over $300,000 and has grown almost 50 percent in the last 7 years.

The House of Representatives Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability, and Access to Housing is made up of lawmakers. Committee member Democrat Debra Bazemore found that there’s more demand than supply of homes- nearly half of what it should be in major Georgia cities.

“My concern is we found out we dont have enough units at all in Georgia to house individuals and it sounds like from the presenters we will have to change the rules to build faster and more homes,” said Bazemore.

The committee posted its final recommendations to the General Assembly’s website. The recommendations include loosening housing regulations in the Georgia Code to build more affordable homes.