ATLANTA — A non-profit is tackling Atlanta's affordable housing crisis in the West End thanks to one family.
In 2019, the family of Tuskegee Airman Edward Johnson helped jump-start the initiative by selling a home that he built to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. Now, the family's second home, also sold to the Trust, is up for grabs.
Saturday was open house day at the home on Mozley Place in Southwest Atlanta.
"Seventy people said they were coming," Georgia Trust president Mark McDonald said. "I think we exceeded that."
The home, having recently been renovated, is ready for a fresh start. But it's the legacy left behind that's pushing that fresh start forward.
"There is legacy here. This is a house, and the other house, too, where African American families lived for over 50 years," Mark said.
The home is a part of Harriet and Edward Johnson's family. Edward was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II. He became Atlanta's first African American master electrician.
Harriet was a graduate of Spelman College and earned a master's degree in education. She taught in Atlanta Public Schools. This home and their other home on Harwell Street - in Washington Park - were sold the Georgia Trust as part of its West Atlanta preservation initiative.
"There is a big need for affordable housing in the city - especially on the West Side where things have been changing rapidly with the beltline," Mark said.
"And you shouldn't have to move outside of the perimeter to get your mega-mansion and then have to move back inside and face that cost," added Judith Lomas who stopped by the open house.
Each home is selling at $198,000. According to Zillow, some homes in that same ZIP code are selling for nearly double. The program will offer homes only to a buyer who makes 0 percent or less of Atlanta's median family income - or just under $64,000 a year for a family of four.
"I think that's part of the vision the Johnson sisters [Edward Johnson's daughters] had is that we would like for this house to be inhabited by someone who has longstanding commitment to the neighborhood," Mark said.
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