HouseATL expands board, mission, aid for families

By David Pendered

HouseATL has expanded its Advisory Board as it focuses on new efforts to expand beyond Atlanta’s city limits, help Black and brown families purchase homes and establish a formal visioning plan.

HouseATL announced Wednesday that, as a result of voting at the group’s Feb. 10 meeting, HouseATL now has a board with 24 voting members, an increase from 17 voting members. Two existing board members are to continue to serve and offer insights, but without voting privileges.

“These new directors will bring their skills and enthusiasm to our state and local policy work, as well as our programmatic priorities,” Janis Ware, the board’s co-chair and executive director of Summech CDC, said in a statement.

“I am thrilled that these well-qualified civic leaders will join our existing board and help guide our strategic planning process,” Margaret Stagmeirer, the board’s co-chair and partner in TriStar Real Estate Investment, said in the statement.

HouseATL has retained Blaze Leadership to oversee an expected nine-month strategic planning process to determine best practices to “address affordability and the growing inequity in Atlanta’s housing market,” according to a statement. The current idea is to build off the recommendations for affording housing established in 2018 by HouseATL

Click here to read a previous story about HouseATL’s expansion plans and visioning process.

One priority to be started soon is helping Black and brown individuals purchase or sustain an owner-occupied home. The program responds to the widely documented disparity of homeownership rates between whites and non-whites. The newly created Homeownership Working Group is to focus on this issue with guidance from two co-chairs of the committee – Christie Cade, vice president of Neighborworks America’s Southern Region, and Karen Hatcher, CEO and head broker of Sovereign Realty + Management.

Hatcher and Cade offered these thoughts in the statement:

  • Hatcher – “According to the National Association of Realtors, the homeownership rate for Black Americans is nearly 30 points lower than white Americans and is linked to higher poverty and reduced economic growth. It’s important to identify the cause and join forces to create solutions promoting economic opportunity and financial security.”
  • Cade – “The HouseATL Homeownership Working Group understands that homeownership is the catalyst for thriving communities. We are committed to advancing key initiatives and strategies that are focused on both increasing and sustaining homeownership.”

The nine newly elected members of HouseATL’s Advisory Board are:

  • Alan Ferguson, president and CEO, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity;
  • Jennifer Freeman, community engagement representative, U.S. Congresswoman Nikema Williams’ office;
  • Rita Gibson, community volunteer, Georgia ACT;
  • Karen Hatcher, CEO, Sovereign Realty & Management;
  • Clyde Higgs, president and CEO, Atlanta Beltline Inc.;
  • Josh Humphries, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ policy advisor for housing;
  • Lindsey Siegel, director of housing advocacy, Atlanta Legal Aid Society;
  • Jacob Vallo, Sr. director, Transit Oriented Development, MARTA;
  • Mariel Sivley, director of housing, St. Vincent de Paul.
Karen Hatcher (Credit: HouseATL)
Christie Cade (HouseATL)
Alan Ferguson (Credit: HouseATL)
Margaret Stagmeier (Credit: HouseATL)
Mariel Sivley (Credit: HouseATL)