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AHA appoints executive to oversee agency, help guide $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant

joy fitzgerald dan halpern

Joy Fitzgerald, former Atlanta Housing Authority president and CEO, stands with former AHA Chairman Dan Halpern after announcement of Choice grant in September, 2015. (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the value of the grant referenced in the headline.

By David Pendered

The board that oversees the Atlanta Housing Authority voted Wednesday to make the interim president/CEO the permanent president/CEO. The move marks the end of the effort by Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration to replace Renee Glover, who formerly held the positions.

joy fitzgerald dan halpern

AHA President/CEO Joy Fitzgerald and AHA Chairman Dan Halpern after announcement of Choice grant in September. File/Credit: Maria Saporta

The board voted to shift Joy Fitzgerald’s status from interim to permanent president/CEO of AHA.

“Joy Fitzgerald has expanded affordable housing and increased the number of families we serve while cutting administrative costs and enhancing efficiency,” Daniel Halpern, chairman of the AHA board, said in a statement. “We are confident that AHA will continue to innovate and expand affordable housing under her leadership.”

Fitzgerald was not provided a contract. Her salary remains the same, at $261,099.89, according to an AHA spokesman.

“I am honored for the opportunity to continue to serve our neediest citizens as President and CEO of AHA,” Fitzgerald said in the statement.

“We have a lot of work to do, including the expansion of affordable housing opportunities for low-income citizens of the City of Atlanta, leveraging AHA-owned real estate in order to create vibrant self-sustaining communities, and successfully implementing the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant received from HUD in September for the Ashview Heights, AUC and Vine City neighborhoods,” Fitzgerald said in the statement.

The Choice Neighborhoods grant is a huge win for the administration, and for those who are to benefit from it. Atlanta applied for the grant in a joint effort with AHA, through the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Reed announced the award in a joint appearance Sept. 28, 2015 with Julián Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In a statement on that date, Reed’s administration said:

Ashview Heights

This community garden is Ashview Heights is to be boltsered by the Atlanta BeltLine, which is one of several programs in the area that intend to help the neighborhood. Credit: atlantabeltlineblog.com

  • “With the $30 million award, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority will work with private and public sector partners to revitalize portions of west Atlanta, including Vine City, Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center neighborhood.”

The grant came on the heels of an award Atlanta received in 2010. That grant provided $250,000 to support the planning process.

Invest Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and MBS-Integral, LLC are to play key roles in the implementation of the Choice Neighborhood grant. The groups also participated in the planning process, according to a statement issued at the time by Morehouse College.

AHA also announced the appointment of a new COO and general counsel.

Here’s the information provided by the statement released Wednesday:

  • “Catherine Buell, a Washington, D.C., real estate attorney and Spelman graduate, was named Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Buell led the District of Columbia’s $2.5 billion transformation of the 183-acre St. Elizabeths East campus into a 5-million-square-foot development that features an Innovation Hub.
  • “Paul E. Vranicar has been appointed General Counsel. Mr. Vranicar, a graduate of Emory University School of Law and formerly with Holland and Knight, LLP, has served as litigator, legal advisor and general counsel to large corporations, governments and public agencies, most recently as Assistant General Counsel at AHA.
  • “It’s important to expand our leadership team as we move forward to revitalize communities and enhance affordable housing,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “Catherine and Paul are excellent additions to the capable and hard-working team at AHA.”


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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1 Comment

  1. ChrisTest82 February 1, 2016 9:37 am

    Would love to see the data/details on how she “expanded affordable housing and increased the number of families we serve while cutting administrative costs and enhancing efficiency,””Report


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