Noel Khalil - Affordable Housing

Nearly half of all renters in the United States must pay thirty percent or more of their income on the monthly rent, and on other housing costs. And about thirty-seven percent of homeowners with mortgages are paying thirty percent of more of their income on housing costs. This thirty-percent criteria is the benchmark for defining eligibility for affordable housing.

A precise definition of affordable housing has been ambiguous. There have been various standards over the years. Because the thirty percent rule is the rule of thumb for the amount of income a family could spend and still have enough left over for other spending, it became the standard for owner-occupied housing as well.

Noel Khalil is a real estate developer who founded Columbia Residential. The company was originally called the Affordable Housing Partners and had just one employee and zero annual revenues. The aim of the firm was to build affordable housing that met the needs of senior citizens and low-income families who were in need of quality affordable housing. The company was renamed Columbia Residential in 1995, and by today has built thousands of affordable housing units, most of them in the Atlanta area where the company has its headquarters. It has expanded to include not just developments, but property management, as well as a construction arm. He says that when he is designing and building new housing his goal is to combine affordability and livability. One of his developments won the Magnolia Award for Special Achievement in Affordable Housing from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

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