28 Mar Supportive Housing
The 12th Annual Supportive Housing Conference:
Shared Voices Bringing Transformational Change – Trevor Bulter’s experience at the Supportive Housing Conference
Trevor Bulter’s GSHA Experience, Part One
KB’s Analyst Intern, Trevor Bulter, attended the 12th Annual Supportive Housing Conference: Shared Voices Bringing Transformational Change, hosted by the Georgia Supportive Housing Association (GSHA) at Georgia State University’s College of Law. He is kind enough to share highlights of the experience with us in a two-part post.
A bit about the Annual Supportive Housing Conference
The Supportive Housing Conference, hosted by the Georgia Supportive Housing Association yearly, is the state’s most extensive supportive housing-focused learning and networking event. The program offers attendees access to presentations by state experts, state agency leadership, academics, researchers, practitioners, and housing providers from across Georgia and the Southeast. It is a chance for everyone to share what is happening to prevent recurring homelessness in Georgia and to learn about the best practices in service delivery, program implementation, and development.
The conference features keynote speakers, plenary sessions, and breakout panels. Attendees learn first-hand about Georgia advocacy work from social work and therapy experts. In addition to planned networking opportunities, the GSHA Conference offers Continuing Education Credits to practitioners.
Trevor’s thoughts on the Annual GSHA Conference
The event brought together service providers, program administrators, building managers, supportive and low-income housing advocates, housing landlords, developers, and representatives from numerous non-profit and governmental organizations across the state and region. As planners, we pride ourselves on being generalists who can facilitate new relationships between stakeholders with diverse needs. After my time at the Supportive Housing Conference (SHC), I believe planners can take a page from the book of all involved in the supportive housing space. The high level of cross-communication between parties throughout the conference was terrific—especially for those engaged in creating, administrating, and improving the supportive housing landscape in Georgia. The numerous ways everyone involved works so hard to advance the goals of Supportive Housing in Georgia were also impressive.
Day One Highlights
Opening remarks came from Toyia Mather, the RESPECT Institute of Georgia’s Outreach Coordinator. She observed that the individuals experiencing homelessness today could be someone you know well. They are someone’s mother or brother, or friend. It is of the utmost importance that we act to create better systems, programs, and facilities that treat unhoused individuals. We do so based on how we would treat those important to us. Ms. Mather, a peer counselor, initiated the Supportive Housing Conference.
Her words came from her experiences—with homelessness, mental health struggles, substance use, and recovery.
The comments provided much-needed grounding for the conference. They encouraged everyone not to view the issues discussed abstractly. Instead, consider the concrete ways that supportive housing development, policy, and service administration directly impact the daily lives of individuals experiencing homelessness today.
The Panel on current housing trends and policies
The Strategies to Advance Housing Equity Through Federal, State, and Local State Policy Actions panel focused on providing a national, state, and local perspective on important housing justice issues. The Deputy Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth at Georgia State’s Law School, Karen Johnston, moderated a panel on current housing trends and policies. It featured Dr. Elora Raymond, Gregory Miao, and Elizabeth Appley and provided broad perspectives.
Dr. Elora Raymond
Dr. Raymond provided an overview of her research on housing justice, race, segregation, and the financialization of housing, and specifically, her findings on institutional investors in Atlanta. Of note, the effect of institutional landlords in Atlanta is not necessarily following the expected spatial trend in the city. Instead, it concentrates mainly along MARTA rail corridors. That is where most of the city’s multifamily units focus, not necessarily reaching into other portions of Atlanta to the same degree. She also noted that in Census Blocks where institutional investors had purchased a property, the impact was a marked reduction in Black residents and a corresponding increase in white residents.
Mr. Gregory Miao
Mr. Miao discussed successful, equitable housing policies implemented by local jurisdictions with support from the ChangeLab Solutions Housing Collaborative. He provided insights from his work helping cities such as Tulsa, Oklahoma, craft housing policies that expand affordable housing options. A central policy from Tulsa was its new Goldstar Landlord program. Landlords enroll in the city’s program, which requires certain building quality and affordability measures in exchange for resources and funding.
Mr. Miao also provided several policies he felt were broadly effective in other cities where he worked. The policies fell into three categories: access to affordable quality, housing, and housing instability. The programs included policies to create affordable housing trust funds, rent regulations, qualified allocation plans, lead laws, rental assistance programs, eviction diversion programs, and policies extending the right to counsel in eviction proceedings.
Ms. Elizabeth Appley
Attorney Elizabeth Appley offered an update on advocacy at the Georgia Capitol surrounding state policy on housing and homelessness. Ms. Appley’s work is mainly in the advocacy space. She provided information on the legislative climate around Georgia’s unhoused population and supportive housing.
During the previous state legislative session, Ms. Appley depicted an interest group on the defensive. Despite the odds, the group prevented the passage of some of the worst legislation, including HB 713 and SB 535. The legislation was designed to defund supportive housing in Georgia and create sanctioned encampments for those experiencing homelessness. It would have effectively outlawed encampments outside of authorized and policed zones.
Also of note were HB 1093 and SB 494—measures designed to bar local governments from regulating rental relationships. Powerful real estate investment trusts and institutional investors brought them to Georgia legislators. Both sets of legislation failed in the session but initiated study committees.
The SB 494 study examines the merits of build-to-rent communities as an affordable housing opportunity. Appley informed the conference that Georgia had a surplus of $6.6 B, much from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. While the state could invest significantly in creating supportive and affordable housing, the funds seemed unlikely to be used for such purposes.
Live link to the 12th Annual Supportive Housing Conference Program
Moderator: Karen Johnston, Deputy Director, Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth, Georgia State Law
Gregory Miao, Senior Attorney, ChangeLab Solutions
Elizabeth Appley, Interim Director and Public Policy Advocate, Georgia Supportive Housing Association
Elora Raymond, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology
Who are the KB Intern Analysts?
From time to time, KB shares information about the firm’s Interns. Typically, we profile each in a blog post at the start of the internship. We also highlight a particular Intern Analyst project. Look at this earlier post for information about Trevor Bulter.