Henry County Commission Chair Carlotta Harrell is on a mission to address housing challenges in the community. As a next step in her ongoing efforts, she convened the first meeting of the Henry County Workforce Housing Task Force in August.
Workforce Housing Task Force
The new group, appointed and chaired by Harrell, consists of 16 leaders spanning the public, private and non-profit sectors. The members are split into two subcommittees: homelessness and affordability. They will meet monthly from now until spring 2024, when they will present a series of actionable policy recommendations and solutions.
“Growth is a great thing for Henry County. But it does not come without its challenges,” said Harrell. “Two of those challenges are housing affordability and homelessness. We must answer the call and address these concerns if we are to grow in a smart, sustainable way where everyone across the community benefits.”
She launched this local effort following the completion of her work on the National Association of Counties (NACo) Housing Task Force. NACo recently published a series of 25 recommendations to address housing challenges in counties across the country. 33 county leaders from across the nation collaborated over ten months to produce the report.
This Henry County successor project is tasked with reviewing the NACo recommendations to see which would work locally. Secondly, the group will consider how Henry County can implement the strategies to maximize their benefit.
“I did the work with NACo so that I could get exposure to the best ideas that are being employed across the nation to meet this challenge,” said Harrell. “But not everything is going to work everywhere. What is good for Phoenix or Chicago may not necessarily be perfect for us. This task force will explore that in depth so that we can employ the best solutions specific to Henry.”
Harrell says that everything is on the table as the group seeks solutions that are both impactful and feasible. This includes exploring provisions for required allotments of affordably priced homes in multifamily complexes, common sense zoning provisions for amenity guidelines in smaller developments, smaller lot sizes, as well as greater flexibility around things like building materials and the price point of homes.
“This is important work. I’m so focused on it because of how serious it is” said Harrell. “We must secure reasonably priced housing for public safety officers, teachers and essential workers. We’re going to do it in a practical way that dispels the notion that affordability is synonymous with low quality and crime.”
The full list of board members is as follows:
- Kamau As-Salaam, Assistant Director Planning & Zoning, Henry County Government
- Drew Camp, Principal, The Reservoir Group
- Mandy Crater, Executive Director, HomeAid Atlanta
- Stephen Davis, Director of Government Affais, Atlanta Apartment Association
- Seth Daniels, Government Affairs Manager, Atlanta Apartment Association
- Alcelia (CeCe) Ford, Community Leader, Designs by Alcelia
- Joseph Henning, President & CEO, Henry County Chamber of Commerce
- Tiffany Hogan, Forward Planning Manager, D.R. Horton
- Cynthia Jenkins, CEO, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity
- Aubrey Kekiwi, Executive Board Chair, A Friend’s House, Inc.
- John Palmer, President, Falcon Design Group
- Shannan Sagnot, Director of Administrative and Constituent Services, Henry County Government
Press release reprinted from Henry County Communications. Featured image shows houses under construction. Google photo.