Deliberating the Future of Housing: A Panel Discussion

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| 01:00 pm - 04:00 pm

Inspired by the exhibition entitled Unequal by Design: Housing in Georgia and America on display in the R. Harold Harrison Gallery, the Russell Library will host an event focusing on the future of housing in Athens. This event is free and open to the public. Free parking for off-campus visitors is available at the Hull Street Deck. 


Andrew Carswell - Andy Carswell is a Professor at the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, where he has been since 2003.  He has written over 100 peer-reviewed publications on primarily housing-related issues, mostly covering housing costs, neighborhood satisfaction, and multifamily living environments.  He is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Housing, 2nd edition, as well as the co-editor of Introduction to Housing.  


Fred Smith - Mr. Fred Smith is the Executive Director of the East Athens Development Corporation. He retired in 2013 as the District Director of the Georgia Department of Labor, where he was responsible for career and unemployment services to citizens in 27 Georgia counties. Mr. Smith is the co-founder of the Athens Area Black History Bowl, serves on the board of the Athens Historical Society, and the committee he chairs has raised over $25,000 for Paine College and the United Negro College Fund, in addition to many other community involvements. Smith is the recipient of many awards, including the University of Georgia President’s Fulfilling the Dream Award

Spencer Frye - Spencer Frye was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2012, representing District 118 (Athens/Winterville) and currently serves as the Executive Director for Athens Habitat for Humanity. He’s also been a small business owner and a construction manager, has helped to export American ambulances overseas, and co-founded an environmental company. As a business owner, non-profit director, and now state representative, Spencer Frye has met and worked with folks from all over the community, and successfully balanced the interests of citizens, private enterprise, and government.

Heather Benham - Heather Benham joined Athens Land Trust in 2002 as a summer intern, and after graduating from UGA in 2003 with her joint Masters of Historic Preservation and Juris Doctorate, she was hired on as ALT’s first full-time employee. Since that time she has filled many roles: Project Coordinator, overseeing construction on ALT’s affordable housing program; Housing Director, building relationships with families while helping them achieve their dreams of homeownership; and Director of Operations, growing ALT’s community agriculture program while managing the organization’s operations. Now she serves as Executive Director, working closely with members of the community, other organizations, and local officials to further ALT’s mission. ALT’s impact has grown significantly during her tenure: the organization has grown from three employees to 31, and the annual operating budget has grown from $60,000 to over $2.5 million.

Connie Staudinger - Prior to arriving in Athens to serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Athens Housing Authority, Ms. Staudinger was employed in executive positions at Charlotte (NC) Housing Authority and the Alexandria (VA) Redevelopment & Housing Authority (ARHA).  In both positions, she was the highest-ranking development staff person responsible for the acquisition, planning, design and implementation of all affordable housing development projects.   She has developed more than $550 million in real estate projects. She was a pioneer in the first generation of affordable housing mixed-finance deals and successfully orchestrated one of the first tax credit funded community buyouts in the nation.  With more than 25 years as the senior development staff person, Ms. Staudinger was instrumental in the creation and implementation of multiple innovative public-private partnerships. The projects developed under her leadership have received multiple national, state, and industry awards.  Ms. Staudinger also represented the affordable housing community by serving as the President of the Virginia Association of Community & Housing Officials.  Prior to ARHA, Ms. Staudinger worked for various architectural firms and a private developer, preserving and creating new affordable housing projects.

Ms.  Staudinger has earned an MBA and is a candidate for a doctoral degree in International Business.  She holds a Class A General Contractor’s license and Housing Finance Development Professional, Agile Organizations Certified Professional and Project Management Professional certifications.

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Kaylynn W Stooksbury
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