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Atlanta Housing Authority CEO to step down | Home & Garden

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Atlanta Housing Authority CEO to step down
Atlanta Housing Authority CEO to step down

ATLANTA -- Renee Lewis Glover, CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority, will leave the organization after 17 years at the helm.

According to a statement from the AHA, "the new board members appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed have made it clear that they would like to have change in leadership at the AHA, which is fully within the prerogative of the mayor and the board."

Glover and members of the board have been working "cooperatively' to come up with "mutually acceptable terms of separation and an orderly transition," the statement said.

Since Reed became Atlanta's mayor in January 2010, he began appointing board members who regularly challenged Glover's leadership and her policies in running the organization.

Before Reed was elected in November 2009, the AHA board had signed a five-year contract with Glover. Officially, the AHA is an independent entity with a separate board, but the mayor appoints a majority of the board members.

Glover's record of success as CEO has been heralded by federal officials. When she took over as interim CEO after serving on the board, AHA was close to default and had been mired with a rotating door of executives and mismanagement.

As CEO, Glover championed the idea of tearing down traditional public housing projects and replacing them with mixed-income communities. The theory was that a concentration of poor people in a community made it nearly impossible for people to break out of the cycle of poverty.

AHA ended up demolishing Techwood Homes, America's first public housing project, and replacing it with the mixed-income community of Centennial Place, which was built just before Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Glover's policies invited controversy with many housing advocates questioning if AHA was really just displacing the poor. But Glover won the public debate and Atlanta became a national model. In fact, it was referred to as "the Atlanta model" for the development of mixed-income communities in major cities across the country.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs developed the Hope VI program to implement mixed-income communities in place of traditional public housing neighborhoods.

"AHA has enjoyed tremendous success under Glover's leadership and she feel privileged to have had the opportunity to serve the city of Atlanta and its citizens," AHA said in its statement.

In the early 1990s, Atlanta had the highest per-capita percentage of residents living in public housing when compared with other major U.S. cities. About 50,000 people lived in about 14,000 units spread across more than 40 housing projects.

A third of the housing units were uninhabitable and the projects had some of the highest crime rates of anywhere in the city.

According to AHA, the housing authority is serving 6,000 more families today than it did in 1994. The number of families receiving housing vouchers had increased by nearly 400 percent.

Before joining AHA in 1994, Glover was a corporate finance attorney in Atlanta and New York. She has received numerous awards, both locally and nationally, and was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine in 2002. She serves on the board of the Federal Bank of Atlanta and Habitat for Humanity International.