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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Maryum Phillips Status Home

Maryum Phillips

President & CEO

Status: Home

Location: Atlanta

Founded: 1989

Industry: Nonprofit/Housing/Healthcare

Maryum Phillips moved to Atlanta in 1999 on the cusp of starting graduate school at Georgia State University and had the opportunity to participate in service-learning programs and do volunteer work that transformed her career goals from law school to a desire for a career in the nonprofit field. Her work in Atlanta has ranged from homeless services to women and children’s issues to education and now, back to homeless services and housing as the president and CEO of Status: Home.

“My biggest piece of advice to those I mentor is to find your passion and become relentless in the pursuit of it,” said Lewis.

Status: Home is Atlanta’s oldest and largest provider of permanent housing for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The organization provides housing options, supportive services and educational opportunities that contribute to a resident’s overall self-sufficiency.

Over the past year, Lewis, a Titan 100 Hall of Famer, said the organization has been in the second phase of a transformational shift, one that brought it through twin crises of changing federal revenue allocations and the housing crisis.

“In short, the housing crisis – the rapidly rising rental rates throughout metropolitan Atlanta – has meant the need for housing support and affordability is the highest it’s ever been, at the exact same time that the supply is the lowest it’s been,” said Lewis. “The other crisis, arriving on the heels of the changing housing landscape, was a major reduction in the funding for persons living with HIV in Atlanta – which is the mission of our organization.”

This funding reduction of over 40% has added fuel to the fire of the housing crisis, threatening the ability of the organization to continue housing the 400+ homeless and low-income people they house every day. However, in that seed of crisis a transformational opportunity was born.

Under Lewis’ leadership, Status: Home developed and catalyzed an ambitious plan to transform the agency through the acquisition of housing by raising $15 million in less than two years. As a result, the organization completed the acquisition of multifamily properties in Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton to house up to 15 people impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Each of these items has led to Lewis’ proudest accomplishment and moment – when the first resident moved in. “Watching his pride and joy at opening the door to his new beautiful, furnished one-bedroom apartment was a moment of pride that I struggle to fully express in words,” she said. “In the end, it is best described as my reason – knowing that someone who was homeless and had nowhere to go now has safe, clean, affordable, long-term housing in a community he loves – it is the reason I do this work.”

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“My biggest piece of advice to those I mentor is to find your passion and become relentless in the pursuit of it.”


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