Beverly Rice is an educator who is also board chair of Quest Communities Development Organization, a nonprofit that develops supportive housing. She spoke to Saporta Report via email.
Q: What’s your No. 1 concern for your district specifically?
A: When I look into the eyes of hungry children who are living in poverty in the city of Atlanta, I throw off my hat as educator and become that of a public servant. Almost 80 percent of the children in Atlanta Public Schools are living in poverty. There are over 3,000 children homeless, and 8,000 to 10,000 homeless men and women in our city. As board chair of a non-profit organization that provides permanent housing for single men, single women, veterans, and those that are disabled, I know that if elected I can impact change. I would initiate policy that would create more affordable housing for low-income families and redevelop blighted and damaged homes to provide permanent housing for the homeless.
Q: What could you as a Council member do about that?
A: In addition to initiating policy that would create more affordable housing for low-income families, I would work with other Council members to ensure that Atlanta citizens have access to high-quality and affordable workforce housing across our city. Included, but not limited will be a full-range of strategies such as: neighborhood stabilization and redevelopment, and an increasing supply of affordable housing inventory.
Q: What’s an uncomfortable truth the next Council needs to face?
A: The biggest issue facing the next council for the city of Atlanta is affordable housing. Although there is proposed legislation for a $25 million Housing Opportunity Bond, it will hardly be enough to support both the homeless population and the numerous families in dire need of supportive housing. I would propose a much larger budget, ensuring that Atlanta citizens have access to high-quality and affordable workforce housing across our city which will be a priority, when elected.
Q: What’s something Council has gotten right in the last four to eight years?
A: Atlanta has earned a strong reputation as a welcoming city to all, which must be protected. As an elected official, I will ensure that policies would not harm the business climate for foreign-born entrepreneurs and their families by building a network of collaboration and active community involvement to maintain civil protection.
Q: What’s something Council has gotten wrong or failed to do in the last four to eight years?
A: The City must restore integrity, eliminate conflicts of interest, and rebuild trust with its citizens and businesses. City leaders should consider commissioning an internal audit of procurement procedures by an independent firm and implementing new ethics and procedure training for city employees who handle sensitive financial matters. An external oversight committee of procurement practices would be appropriate and build public trust.
Q: Bottom line, overall, why should people vote for you? What’s your pitch to the voters?
6. My passion for the people in the city of Atlanta has pushed my candidacy for Atlanta City Council District 10. For too long, our elderly have struggled to keep homes they have spent a lifetime maintaining. Children are forced to move as many as 15 times before they reach high school, because parents can’t afford to pay the rent. Young men and young women can’t find jobs with livable wages, because there are no job training programs available and programs for adult education and literacy are scarce. There are women, getting off from work at night, having to walk more than two miles alone, because of decreased public transportation. Neighborhood schools are closing rapidly, because of funding; while businesses in the community fail to invest in them.
I am running for Atlanta City Council District 10, because it is time for a CHANGE. It is time to
Revive our Communities with Integrity, Commitment, and Engagement.