During the last week in January, the Atlanta Regional team welcomed Field Policy and Management Assistant Deputy Secretary (ADS) Michele Perez. The visit started with a tour hosted by Atlanta Housing President, Chief Executive Officer Eugene Jones, and Deputy Chief Real Estate Officer Trish O'Connell. During the tour, ADS Perez, Regional Administrator José Alvarez, Deputy Regional Administrator Tiffany Cobb, and Field Office Director Shea Johnson, along with Public and Indian Housing Director Robert Kenner, were able to visit several properties and neighborhoods that are in various stages of redevelopment or will soon begin redevelopment with the overall goal of creating additional affordable housing units in communities. Two notable stops were the historic Civic Center and Roosevelt Hall. Once completed, the Civic Center will be an invigorated 21st-century performing arts and cultural programming site for all Atlantans to enjoy. In addition, Roosevelt Hall, the location of the historic University Homes, the first federally-funded public housing project in the United States for African American families, will soon serve as the new home for Choice Neighborhoods and Atlanta University Center Consortium offices.
Day two kicked off with the annual 2023 Point-in-Time (PIT) Day Count, sponsored by Partners for HOME, where ADS Perez, RA Jose Alvarez, DRA Tiffany Cobb, FOD Shea Johnson, and Community Planning Director Adrian Fields spent the morning interviewing sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness. The PIT Day Count was held at SafeHouse Outreach, Inc., a local Atlanta nonprofit whose mission is to help restore lives experiencing extreme poverty by providing various supportive services. The PIT count provides a space to engage the human side of HUD's mission and hear the stories of those who are often unheard and unseen. The HUD leadership team shared their sentiments on participating in this year's PIT count, and two words described their experience: Grateful and Humble. They noted, "Participating in the PIT count will enable CoCs to conduct a larger count by covering more territory and ensure adequate resources are allocated. Additionally, the day count provided an opportunity to count several individuals missed during the night count and served as a chance to give back while contributing to the ongoing work of combatting homelessness."
ADS Perez also shared her thoughts on the experience stating, "At the end of the day, we at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development are accountable to the people, the residents, and this community. How we demonstrate that care, that compassion is not only in compliance and monitoring but its engagement, connection, and really demonstrating that we believe in the mission of HUD--that no one should have the dishonor of sleeping any night on the streets; we can do better and our leadership is challenging us to make sure that happens, and there's no other place we'd rather be than right here with this team doing this work."