Friday, July 2, 2021

City of Austin Housing and Planning Department Hires Executive to Lead Inclusive Planning and Displacement Prevention Initiatives

The Housing and Planning Department has completed its executive recruitment for an Assistant Director who will oversee programming and policy implementation related to the department's inclusive planning and displacement prevention initiatives. After a competitive process that garnered interest from applicants around the country, the City has hired Cupid S. Alexander who will join the City of Austin in early August 2021.

Alexander presently is the Division Director of Neighborhoods, Housing and Human Services in the City of Spokane, Washington. He currently oversees a staff of 40 with 5 direct reports. His leadership and areas of expertise include community development; strategic planning; and program oversight to address numerous community services and projects to help improve life outcomes in the City and region of Spokane. 

Prior to his work in Spokane, Alexander served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler for the City of Portland from 2017 to 2020 where he designed and implemented public policy platforms and strategies regarding housing, economic development, and community engagement on behalf of the Office of the Mayor and the City of Portland. His work in Portland cultivated and centered community-facing entities, to help build an economically resilient and empowered Portland community. Prior to his time with the Mayor's Office, Mr. Alexander worked as a Senior Policy Analyst (2015 - 2017) within the Portland Housing Bureau-tasked with developing and leading work including implementation of the Bureau's equity plan, developing a community-centered 'preference policy' to help identify vulnerable families in 'gentrified' areas for priority housing investments, and community engagement projects to help increase and improve access to housing resources.

Alexander's career began as an Occupancy Specialist and Shelter Plus Care Administrator from 2003 - 2012. Working in the suburbs of Portland (Washington County, OR), Cupid developed an insight for working with vulnerable and income-restricted tenants, large-scale developers, nonprofit organizations, and government entities on collective action and collective success. Among the many areas of oversight, his work included reconciling housing assistance payments, monitoring sub-recipient homeless entities for compliance, grant administration related to funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and deep community engagement to support tenant success.

He has a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University; a Graduate Degree in Real Estate Development from Portland State University; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Warner Pacific University. Alexander has been a featured speaker on topics ranging from gentrification, housing affordability, housing equity, and development policies as well as economic development policies, and community resiliency. 

Several areas of recognition within the past few years of Cupid's career include:

  • American Leadership Forum of Oregon Senior Fellow, June 2019 
  • Habitat for Humanity Ambassador Board Member, 2018-2020 
  • Urban League Board Member and Young Professionals President, 2017-2019 
  • Black Male Achievement of Portland Board Member, 2018 –Present 
  • National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), National Emerging Leader, 2018
  • NAHRO Pacific Northwest Regional Conference President, 2019 – Present 
  • NAHRO National Board of Governors member, 2019 - present