Mayor’s office bolsters efforts to tackle resident inequities

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced the formation of new efforts to tackle disparities across the city related to issues like affordable housing, education and economic mobility.

Last year’s census data revealed a stark reality that Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the nation.

A new team at City Hall will collaborate across multiple policy issues to address “entrenched racial and socioeconomic equity gaps,” according to a release from the Mayor’s office.

“Too many families in Atlanta are grappling with economic, housing, transit and other inequities and we know that business as usual will not work,” Dickens said in a statement. “However, if we work together creatively across traditional boundaries and sectors, we can make Atlanta the best place in the country to raise a family and to pursue your dreams — regardless of who you are or where you come from.”

Approved by the Atlanta City Council and led by Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer Courtney English, the new office will focus on addressing inequities in affordable housing, youth development and education and neighborhood growth while engaging stakeholders across different sectors and industries.

The team’s five leads are: Janean Lewis, advisor for youth development; David Edwards, advisor for neighborhoods; Joshua Humphries, advisor for housing; Megan Sparks, advisor for strategic partnerships; and Dr. Jodi Merriday, ombudsman of neighborhoods.

“Throughout his past year in office, Mayor Dickens has stressed the importance of reorganizing government to pursue innovative, cross-sectoral solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our residents,” English said in a statement. “We can only achieve our goals if we are willing to break down broken systems and build new solutions together.”