ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Lack of affordable housing is plaguing the country and hitting close to home in Metro Atlanta. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge joined officials in Atlanta on September 27, 2021, for an update on efforts to tackle the issue.

Fudge and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms toured Herndon Square with members of Congress. It sits where the former Herndon Homes housing complex was located before the city demolished it. They met with residents who now have an affordable place to call home. “I’m very excited to be here and just being at the right place at the right time,” said Juanita Wallace, a resident.

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Too many residents have a different story that includes skyrocketing rent payments and housing shortages. “This Atlanta is for all of us. It’s not for the haves. It’s for those of us that want to call this Atlanta home,” said Bottoms. “Atlanta has the widest racial wealth gap, and no where is that more evident than in housing,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-5th District). “There is no place in America today where I could probably buy a house,” Fudge said.

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Fudge says the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Agenda is a solution to the lack of affordable housing. She’s hoping all members of Congress will support it. “They have to pass this bill. We cannot build back better if we can’t do the right thing,” she said. “Congress needs to pass the bipartisan infrastructure package and the Build Back Better economic package,” said Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), explaining how the two are connected. “The work that we’re doing in Congress right now to advance affordable housing will have a real impact,” said Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia).

Fudge says HUD is making changes nationwide. “In this HUD, we’re giving down payment assistance so that you can start with equity in your house,” she said. Bottoms says Atlanta is halfway to her goal of putting one billion dollars toward affordable housing. “To see the revitalization of the West Side and the way it is building back better makes me so incredibly proud,” she said.

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With these strides, officials acknowledged there’s still a long way to go.