Co-founded by Coretta Scott King, Christine King Farris and John Cox as an all-volunteer neighborhood-based organization. HDDC began by utilizing a “block-by-block” development strategy, building new homes on vacant lots on the same streets where it rehabilitated existing dilapidated structures. Through a grant program, HDDC would temporarily relocate existing renters to a new home or apartment on the same block while renovations on their homes occurred; upon completion, those existing renters could remain in the new home, or return to their former residence, without seeing any significant rent increase.

In the years since HDDC’s founding, the organization has built or preserved more than 120 single-family homes, developed almost 500 units of multi-family housing and added more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Old Fourth Ward. Among its accomplishments, HDDC developed Studioplex, a former cotton warehouse converted into lofts and commercial and retail space, developed Dynamic Metals Lofts, and helped develop the Auburn Glenn Apartment complex; it also spearheaded efforts to protect the historic Atlanta Daily World building from demolition. HDDC’s housing programs have dramatically improved housing conditions in the Old Fourth Ward by increasing the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing, expanding safe areas of the neighborhood, and fostering economic stability by supporting home ownership.

A Unique Approach

Since its inception, HDDC’s revitalization efforts have focused on three central tenets, which still guide the organization today:

  • Non-displacement, or maintaining neighborhood diversity by intervening and improving life opportunities for existing residents.
  • Historic preservation, or retaining the historic fabric and cultural character of the existing community.
  • Sustainability, or linking mixed-income, mixed-use development to sustainable economic growth, thereby creating an environment where families can be self-sufficient.

In particular, HDDC’s focus on non-displacement sets it apart from other organizations seeking to revitalize and redevelop the city’s historic neighborhoods.