The position will report directly to Chief Housing Officer Nicole Heyman to support the City’s efforts to expand affordable housing opportunities.

The City of Chattanooga is pleased to announce the hire of its first-ever Director of Housing Policy, a position which will oversee the city’s implementation of its housing objectives and services and work to develop equitable and innovative housing solutions. Sydney Shivers will report directly to Nicole Heyman, who was hired last year as the city’s first Chief Housing Officer.


Shivers joins the City of Chattanooga from New Orleans, Louisiana, where she worked as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Assets. There, she led cross-departmental and cross-agency initiatives aimed at creating equitable, inclusive, amenity-rich neighborhoods. Her work led to successful zoning-reforms that increased the diversity of housing opportunities in New Orleans neighborhoods, and she stewarded the Redevelopment Framework, a tool for driving public benefits by leveraging underutilized City-owned properties, to create new housing opportunities in high opportunity neighborhoods. 

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far toward preserving our existing affordable housing units and building new ones, and adding Sydney’s expertise to the effort will accelerate our ability to improve our city’s housing landscape,” said Mayor Tim Kelly. “Our goal is to make Chattanooga a place where anyone who wants to call it home can – regardless of their income level. Sydney has a track record of helping make that happen, and I’m thrilled that she’s joining our team at this pivotal time.”

As director of housing policy, Shivers will plan, manage, and oversee the daily functions of the City of Chattanooga’s housing policy initiatives. Part of the role will also include evaluating the effectiveness of implemented policy through data analysis.

“I am impressed by Mayor Kelly and his administration’s demonstrated commitment to ensuring all Chattanoogans have safe, quality, and affordable housing, and I feel a deep alignment with their racial and economic justice centered vision for Chattanooga’s growth,” said Shivers.

Sydney earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, and she is a candidate for a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania through an executive program.

“This expansion of our team is an incredibly exciting next step in building a stronger housing environment for Chattanoogans,” said Heyman. “ It has been my pleasure to work alongside Sydney in the past and I am honored that she chose to join me in Chattanooga to continue our partnership in finding solutions to create vibrant, amenity rich communities with housing options that are affordable to working Chattanoogan families. Sydney is a collaborative and creative partner who values building relationships in the community and working to fulfill the  mission to make housing in Chattanooga attainable for everyone.”

Shivers will come on board as the Department of Housing prepares to implement its Housing Action Plan, a policy and program roadmap that will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday, August 29. The plan was prepared in collaboration with HR&A Advisors, a real estate firm built by experts in the field of housing and economic development. It is a comprehensive evaluation of our current housing market and a bold action blueprint for how we can make that market more equitable and affordable.

More on Mayor Tim Kelly’s ongoing efforts to improve Chattanooga’s housing landscape:

Since entering office, expanding access to affordable housing has been a top priority of his administration. Expanding access to affordable housing is one of the major tenants laid out in The Kelly Administration’s One Chattanooga Plan.

The Kelly Administration has been working to expand access to housing opportunities, placing almost 3,000 people into permanent housing and reported a 40% reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness in our city compared to last year.

In 2021, The Kelly Administration proposed and The City Council approved a $500,000 grant through The American Rescue Plan to support the Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI), a program supported by the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. The program has prevented 275 evictions since its inception, giving 275 families more time and resources to get back on their feet.