On June 14, 2022, Sandy Springs’ Diversity and Inclusion Task Force concluded its study on ways to promote more inclusivity amongst our city government and the Sandy Springs community as a whole.
Following Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the summer of 2020, Mayor Rusty Paul announced the formation of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in February of 2021, with a goal of improving inclusion in the local government and community.
Since its inception, the diverse ten person panel has held a series of meetings and studied three key areas to draft recommendations for improving inclusivity: housing, communications and recreation & parks. Below you can find the task force’s top recommendations for each of the listed areas.
Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Recommendations for Housing:
- Reinstate Phase 2 of the Housing Needs Assessment. This assessment will provide research-based recommendations of what other cities have done to tackle similarly complex housing obstacles.
- Create a Director of Housing position which is responsible for ensuring all redevelopment projects are evaluated and implemented through a racial equity lens and impact of diversity.
- Increase the scope of incentives in the Economic Development Incentive Policy for Affordable Housing.
- Preserve and protect all remaining NOAH (naturally occurring affordable housing) the city is known for: older apartment complexes.
Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Recommendations for Communications:
- Identify the most effective ways to communicate key information to city residents in places where they travel, work, shop and congregate.
- Make agendas and results of key city meetings more accessible.
- Identify a technological solution that can translate important information and documents into languages that have significant representation in the United States (other than English and Spanish).
- Work with apartment community owners, resident associations and local news publications (Sandy Springs Reporter, Sandy Springs Neighbor, etc.) to identify the most effective ways to distribute these newspapers to residents.
- Ensure that members of minority communities can access the proper channels to apply for full time and contract employment with the city.
Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Recommendations for Parks & Recreation:
- Create a stronger communication strategy to promote the facilities and services of Parks & Recreation (Example: Parks & Recreation partner with the Fulton County Library System to promote summer programs alongside reading programs)
With this report now finalized, the city staff will present the findings and recommendations to the Sandy Springs City Council at a future date.
“In the end, they’ll (the Task Force) will provide us with a report on things that we can do, but their task is more than just city policy. This is a broader issue than just what the city government itself can do. How do we connect these people to the larger community is actually the primary task. And part of that is getting more inclusive within the city government, but we can’t just stop there,” remarked Mayor Paul to the Reporter.
The future of Sandy Springs is brighter when we take steps to embrace our diversity and promote inclusion. At Sandy Springs Together, we will continue to do our part to help make Sandy Springs the best place for ALL to live. Be sure to follow our Facebook page for the latest developments on the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force’s findings.