Monday, November 28, 2011

City hires new homeless czar

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Actually, the position is leader of the Innovation Delivery Team, and if that sounds like typical bureaucratic double-speak … well, at least you're not footing the bill. That job and those of five underlings yet to be named are all being funded for the next three years by a $4.2 million grant from Mikey Bloomberg, aka the mayor of Noo Yawk.

The IDT will be tasked with overseeing the launch of a planned non-emergency 311 system that should take some of the burden off of the city's problematic 911 system. Also, the group is supposed to get a handle on Atlanta's formidable problem homelessness.

How will it achieve this latter goal? Damned if I know, but I'll be interested to talk to one Kristin Wilson once she gets settled into her new job. So far, all I have is the name of the IDT leader; I don't know where she came from or what her previous experience is — city spokesfolk have promised a press release in the next week or so — but I do know that she started at City Hall last Tuesday.

First off, I'd advise Czarina Wilson to get a quick primer on the city's homeless situation by attending the Dec. 16 Fulton Superior Court hearing that is expected to determine the fate of the beleaguered and much-criticized Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

As for a 311 system, the sooner the better. And I know exactly what they should make you listen to when they put you on hold.

Speaking of being on hold, at last week's Council fall retreat (two blocks away at the Georgia Freight Depot — some retreat), outgoing city COO Peter Aman told Council members that the city's 911 system had improved its response time and now answers 90 percent of calls within 10 seconds. However, he said, callers were still being placed on hold longer than desired when they needed to be transferred to Grady Hospital or another emergency jurisdiction.

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