City creates new housing commission

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor

Creating sustainable and affordable housing in the city of Madison is moving to the front and center of priorities. The Madison City Council appointed seven members to the new Housing Opportunity Commission (HOC) as part of the requirements of participating in the coveted Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) program on Monday, Dec. 9. GICH is a public-private initiative focused on helping communities strategically grow their economies through housing-related solutions. Along with four other communities across the state, Madison was chosen to become a GICH community last month. “What a great opportunity for our city,” said Fred Perriman, mayor of Madison. The seven members of the HOC will be Ashley Hunt, Jeff Miller, Judy Senft, Judy Thomas, Maureen Ronan, David Griffith, and Leon Peters. Griffith and Peters are the only two Non-Madison residents on the commission, but were selected for their expertise in construction and property management, according to Monica Callahan, director of city planning. “The HOC is the revived version of the City’s former housing group,” said Callahan. “This is an appointed seven-member civic board who will take an active role in housing planning and policy development.” In conjunction with the HOC, a Housing Advisory Panel has also been formed to take advantage of the GICH program. This board is made up of representatives from all three governments (city, county, and state) that will advise the civic board. The members of the Housing Advisory Panel will be Carrie Peters-Reid, city council member; Cindy England, of Habitat for Humanity, Donald Harris, county commissioner; Connie Booth, planning commission member; Erica Veasley, board of education member; Nina Kelly, of the Northest Georgia Regional Commission; Shandon Land, chairman of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Sonya Hope, and Bryce Jaeck, with the city of Madison. “Together these groups form our GICH Team for the next three years, which will attend housing leadership training for GICH communities,” explained Callahan. According to Callahan, “through training and technical instruction during a series of retreats, community housing teams will design and implement strategies to enhance their economies as well as the quality of life for their citizens. During these work sessions, each team will work with and receive continuous feedback from a facilitator or housing professional, as well as engage in cross-community collaboration.” “Assistance with housing works best when communities are an active part of the process,” said Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) – a partner in the initiative. “This program brings together and empowers the decision-makers who can and do make a difference in their communities.”

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