Atlanta mayor taps new equity officer to aid marginalized residents

June 24, 2019 - Atlanta -  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms unveiled a new affordable housing plan at a press conference on Monday.  Her One Atlanta: Housing Affordability Action Plan is intended to serve as a roadmap to increase the supply of housing in the City of Atlanta for a full spectrum of residents.  Speakers included Bottoms, Jon Keen, Atlanta Deputy COO,  Terri Lee, Atlanta Chief Housing Officer, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD Regional Director, John O'Callaghan, President and CEO, ANDP and Sarah Kirsch, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute.   Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
June 24, 2019 - Atlanta - Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms unveiled a new affordable housing plan at a press conference on Monday. Her One Atlanta: Housing Affordability Action Plan is intended to serve as a roadmap to increase the supply of housing in the City of Atlanta for a full spectrum of residents. Speakers included Bottoms, Jon Keen, Atlanta Deputy COO, Terri Lee, Atlanta Chief Housing Officer, Denise Cleveland-Leggett, HUD Regional Director, John O'Callaghan, President and CEO, ANDP and Sarah Kirsch, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has appointed a new chief equity officer whose responsibilities include developing policies that create economic equity, programs for the city’s at-risk youth, housing affordability, community health, education, and LGBTQ affairs.

In a press release on Thursday, Bottoms announced that Qaadirah Abdur-Rahim would oversee the city’s One Atlanta Office, which the mayor created in 2018 shortly after she was elected.

“Qaadirah has extensive experience as a champion for marginalized communities in Atlanta and we are excited to have her join our team,” said Bottoms in a press release. “Our administration’s focus on equity and opportunity is key to ensuring that all Atlantans benefit from the growing prosperity of our city.”

Before arriving at the city, Abdur-Rahim served as the chief executive officer at Future Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on helping youth overcome generational poverty.

Abdur-Rahim is the fourth person to oversee One Atlanta since the Mayor Bottoms established the office in May 2018. Rashad Taylor, a now a senior advisor to the mayor was its first director. He was followed by Amol Naik, who oversaw the office when he was the city’s Chief Resiliency Officer and left in June, 2019, according to city documents. William L. Hawthorne III, a former city solicitor and trial attorney for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office then oversaw One Atlanta.

Hawthorne announced his resignation in February for unknown reasons, but didn’t officially leave the city until late June.

A city spokesman didn’t immediately answer questions about why Hawthorne resigned, or why the office — charged with carrying out some of the most important of Bottoms' initiatives — had experienced the degree of turnover at that it had.

For her part, Abdur-Rahim said in the press release that her attention was on the future.

“My singular focus is to help break the cycle of generational poverty that plagues the communities in which I grew up,” Abdur-Rahim said.

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