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Atira hires former head of Vancouver park board Donnie Rosa as new CEO

Rosa assumes the leadership of B.C.’s largest non-profit housing provider on April 22.

Atira Women’s Resource Society has chosen a new CEO, almost a year after a scandal involving conflicting interests affected the largest non-profit housing provider in the province.

The Vancouver-based organization has announced the appointment of Donnie Rosa as its new CEO, stating that it will continue to prioritize transparent communication with B.C. Housing, the provincial government, tenants, staff and the public.

Rosa will take over from interim CEO Catherine Roome starting on April 22.

“This is a great time to be joining Atira,” said Donnie Rosa in a statement. “Atira’s work is more crucial than ever given the multiple crises faced in British Columbia, including housing, the dangerous drug supply, and declining security.”

Rosa becomes the head of Atira 11 months after the resignation of former CEO Janice Abbott following a B.C. Housing investigation that found mismanagement related to a conflict of interest between Abbott and the former head of B.C. Housing Shayne Ramsay, who is also her spouse.

The report indicated that Atira seemed to receive special treatment from the province and was given more access to public funds than similar housing providers.

Atira has received over $120 million in B.C. Housing funding between 2018 and last spring. It operates hundreds of non-market housing units and social programs, aiding approximately 3,000 women and children in Metro Vancouver.

Rosa previously worked as general manager at Vancouver’s park board before leaving the position last May. No explanation was provided for their departure. Rosa was appointed in 2020 under then-mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Rosa also most recently served as executive director of community services at the Squamish Nation, overseeing land acquisition, community operations, planning, and capital projects, including housing delivery.

Rosa was selected after an extensive search across Canada, according to Atira board member Michelle Yung. “Donnie stood out as a forward-thinking leader with the necessary track record and experience to lead Atira,” she said.

Atira has also established two new executive roles to enhance governance. It promoted Sarah McIntosh to chief operating officer and brought in Paul Plater as a part-time chief financial officer.

x.com/cherylchan

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  • Examining the Atira-B.C. Housing scandal with staff, tenants and critics
  • Investigation into B.C. Housing found conflicting interests between former CEO and non-profit headed by his wife
  • Vancouver council approves initial grants to Atira following funding pause
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