Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens could hire a full-time leader for his new Affordable Housing Strike Force within the next month, city officials told Atlanta Civic Circle on Wednesday.
The mayor’s senior advisor, Courtney English, said Dickens’ office is conducting an “aggressive” national search to fill the role. “We aim to have an individual in place by the next Strike Force meeting,” he said, adding that the next meeting should happen at the end of June or early July.
Dickens announced the Affordable Housing Strike Force during his first State of the City address in April, billing it as a “one-stop shop” to coordinate the city’s goal of building and restoring 20,000 affordable housing units by 2026.
Made up of top officials from Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Land Bank, MARTA, Atlanta Public Schools, and Atlanta Beltline, Inc., the group is charged with engaging nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and developers to construct and refurbish affordable homes. It also has a mandate to identify and assemble property parcels for affordable housing development, then help secure financing and navigate regulatory approvals.
But don’t confuse the newly created strike force head job with the cabinet-level chief housing officer position, which has been vacant since Terri Lee’s departure in December 2020. Lee left the mayor’s office to join the city’s public housing authority, Atlanta Housing, as chief housing officer.
City officials would not say on Wednesday when they will replace Lee, although Dickens said during the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum in March that he hoped to fill the post before year’s end.
Atlanta’s chief operating officer, Lisa Gordon, said during a June 9 budget hearing that the city will announce several high-level appointments—including leaders for the planning, procurement, transportation, human resources, and parks and recreation departments—in the next few weeks. But she didn’t specifically mention the chief housing officer post.
“You can’t imagine how fun it is to have five concurrent recruitments going on at one time,” she joked last week.