Larry Stewart named chair of Atlanta Housing authority
By Maria Saporta
Permanent board leadership at the Atlanta Housing authority is now in place.
The AH board voted unanimously on Wednesday to name Larry Stewart as its chair. He succeeds Tené Traylor, who had been serving as chair on an interim basis since May. The board also named Sarah Kirsch as vice chair.
“It is a great honor to have the opportunity to serve as chairman of the Atlanta Housing board of commissioners, continuing an incredible legacy started over 80 years ago,” Stewart said in a statement. “I truly thank my fellow commissioners and Mayor Dickens for their trust.”
Stewart is a technology entrepreneur in digital marketing as well as a civic leader. He currently works at Slalom Consulting as a senior principal focused on client leadership for the public sector. He also works with community leaders and start-ups on solutions for housing affordability, civic engagement and virtual education. His past work experiences have centered on consulting and strategy for technology startups.
A resident of Atlanta for more than 25 years, Stewart, received both his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his Master’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens applauded the selection of Stewart and Kirsch as the new leaders of the housing authority’s board.
“Atlanta is a city on the move, and we want all to share in its growth and prosperity,” Dickens said in a release. “We have set ambitious goals to build and preserve affordable housing in our community so that we can prevent displacement of long-time residents and have inclusive communities. Atlanta Housing is an integral partner in this work. Larry and Sarah have wide-ranging expertise and leadership experience that will provide Atlanta Housing the energy and vision to get the job done.”
Stewart specifically mentioned the authority’s staff as being instrumental in efforts to increase affordable housing in Atlanta.
“I am incredibly proud of the work of Eugene Jones Jr. and this outstanding staff, who work tirelessly to ensure that affordable housing is attainable for those in need, including those who seek the American dream,” Stewart said, adding that the board will work with the agency “to house and empower people, and the administration’s goal to create and preserve 20,000 housing units by 2030.”
In May, the housing authority’s board had a big turnover in leadership. Four board members resigned, including Christopher Edwards, who had been serving as its chair for the past several years. The authority had been criticized for owning hundreds of acres of land without significant development of new housing to address Atlanta’s growing affordability challenges.
Dickens then nominated Stewart and Kirsch to serve on the seven-member board along with Doug Hooker and Duriya Farooqui.
Since the new board members were put in place, the authority has selected a development team to re-envision the Civic Center site, which the authority bought from the city in 2017 for $31 million.
Atlanta Housing is the largest housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation. It provides and facilitates affordable housing resources for nearly 27,000 low-income households comprised of approximately 45,000 people, including authority-owned residential communities, tenant-based vouchers, supportive housing and home ownership opportunities. Its programs are funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.