Atlanta Housing Authority Conducts Disparity Study For Agency

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

The Atlanta Housing Authority recently completed a disparity study to review how the agency conducts business with minority- and women-owned business enterprises and small business enterprises, as well as how it facilitates Section 3 programs. Section 3, part of the federal Housing Act of 1968, requires to the greatest extent feasible, that recipients of certain HUD assistance provide training, employment and contracting opportunities low- and very-low income persons. Additionally, Section 3 requires that economic opportunities are afforded for low- and very-low income persons in the area in which the HUD funds are expended.

In an effort to increase its outreach efforts to potential contractors about contracting opportunities, AHA brought together law firms Griffin & Strong and Holland & Knight to work alongside Keen Independent Research to discover the best way for AHA to promote opportunities to MBEs and WBEs.

Sharing Agency Results

Quantitative and qualitative evidence shows that there is not a level playing field for minority- and women-owned business firms in the city of Atlanta. The study compares the percentage of contract dollars going to MBEs and WBEs by racial, ethnic and gender group.  It was determined that AHA has been successful in its utilization of MBE and WBE firms, as it awarded more contracts than would be expected given the availability of MBEs and WBEs.

"AHA is committed to diversity, and based on the results of the disparity study, we plan to take the needed actions to promote all opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises," said Catherine Buell, President and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority. "We believe that operating a successful Section 3 program is extremely important because it provides well-deserved opportunities to the people we serve."  

To ensure that AHA continues to be successful in its efforts in doing business with MBEs and WBEs, AHA has identified ways to conduct additional outreach efforts for MBEs and WBEs firms, as well as for SBEs and Section 3 firms. Those opportunities include but are not limited to: 

  • More information about opportunities to bid

  • Assistance and education around the bidding process

  • Outreach efforts towards small business firms in minority groups that have little utilization

  • Track and monitor processes for MBE/WBE/SBE/Section 3 participation in contracting

  • Research efforts to build a successful SBE goals program

The Atlanta Housing Authority plans to hold a public forum on November 16, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at AHA, 230 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue, N.E. The forum will allow business owners, current and potential contractors the opportunity to share their comments around the disparity study.