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Southeastern Regional Council of Housing and CD Professionals National Association of Housing Redevelopment Officials

Fall 2016

Editorial Staff

Managing Editor/Photography Paula Robertson, PR Designs Contributing Editors Alabama................... Beverly Barber Florida ............................Lisa Landers ..................................... Lillian Stringer Georgia........................Reta Thomas ........................................ Ella Murphy Kentucky......................Robin Wilden Mississippi.....................Rita McKissick North Carolina.......... Shaunte Evans South Carolina........... Pancea Lewis Virginia..................................Ed Ware

SERC REGION: Alabama Florida Georgia Kentucky Mississippi North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Virginia West Virginia

The SERCulator is the official publication of the Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. The SERCulator is published quarterly. Comments, suggestions, articles, features and photographs are solicited in interest of the members of Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Although all submissions are subject to approval and editing, every effort will be made to publish submissions based on available space. Photos cannot be returned. Send submissions to: Paula Robertson, 662-268-8402, email: or Reta Thomas, email:



President’s message.......................................... 3 SERC officers....................................................... 4 SERC committee chairs .................................... 5 NAHRO Fellows add SERC members............... 6 Fall workshop agenda....................................... 7 State news..................................................... 8-16 SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference............ 18-20 NAHRO awards of merit............................. 21-22 Legislative update........................................... 24 SERC 2017 Annual Conference................. 26-27 Winterize your home........................................ 28 SERC cares........................................................ 29 Basketball challenge 2017.............................. 30 Recognitions..................................................... 32 VAHCDO celebrates 75 years......................... 33 SERC upcoming events................................... 36

The SERCulator 2

A message from your SERC President Greetings Serc Colleagues: As I write this, I am enjoying my favorite coffee from Starbucks while reflecting on the fact that today is probably the last day of our “Indian summer.” I’m looking forward to the change of seasons with the cooler fall weather and its colorful display of leaves. For me, it’s a reminder that change is a natural part of life. With the presidential election almost upon us and the transition that will happen immediately thereafter, it would seem that the rate of change at the federal level has Dave Baldwin SERC-NAHRO President slowed down a bit. However, at the October NAHRO Conference, Lourdes Castro Ramirez, HUD principal deputy assistant secretary for public and Indian housing, assured us that HUD staff will continue working to bring as much closure as they can to a number of pending issues: • HUD has already provided guidance regarding five aspects of the recently passed HOTMA legislation that are immediately self-implementing; • HUD will continue working on the implementation of the smoke-free public housing rule; • They expect to award five new choice neighborhood grants; • Having received some 60 proposals under the ROSS for Education Program, also known as Project SOAR, HUD intends to award up to six grants; • Moving to Work expansion – they expect to wrap-up and publish a policy identification and participation notice by mid-November. We hope that they can accomplish these goals but, of course, it’s unclear whether/how much they may get stalled during the new president’s transition period. In any case, we will all carry on, providing excellent service to our residents and to our communities as we have for over 75 years. I would also like to mention that, following our presidential election, there will be another election cycle to which you should pay attention. This one won’t be on the TV and won’t have the level of acrimony we have seen of late; but it is no less important to our industry. With official announcements made at the NAHRO Conference last week, the campaigns for NAHRO president and senior vice-president have begun. Our own SERC Past President Ailrick Young is running for the position of NAHRO senior vice president. You will be hearing more from all of the candidates after the first of next year. SERC will be inviting all of the candidates to our summer conference in Nashville, TN in June 2017 so that you can hear directly from them what they stand for and in what direction they would like to take NAHRO. NAHRO is a primary source of legislative advocacy and training. Our leaders represent us to HUD, to Congress and to partners in our industry. The people in our leadership positions make a big difference. This is important. Change…it’s a natural part of life. We can grumble about it and reminisce about how much better things were back when… or, we can embrace change, and find the beauty and excitement that can come with a new perspective, a new challenge, or maybe just a different view out the window. It’s all a matter of attitude… and attitude is a choice. “Everyone needs and deserves a place to call home”–never forget that our work and our attitudes are important; we impact people’s lives every day! Dave Baldwin, SERC President

See page 7 for Fall Workshop Agenda

“Solutions that Work” 3

Our leaders represent us to HUD, to Congress and to partners in our industry. The people in our leadership positions make a big difference. This is important. “Everyone needs and deserves a place to call home”–never forget that our work and our attitudes are important; we impact people’s lives every day!

SERC OFFICERS I 2015-2017 President Dave Baldwin Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority 809 Edmond Street Bristol, VA 24201-4385 Phone:(276) 821-6255 Fax:(276) 642-2009 Senior Vice President Sean Gilbert Knoxville Community Development Corp. 901 N Broadway Street Knoxville, TN 37917 Phone:(865) 403-1209 Fax:(865) 594-0266 Secretary Jeanette Henderson Albany Housing Authority PO Box 485 Albany, GA 31702 Phone:(229) 434-4505 Fax:(229) 434-4509 Treasurer Mark Taylor Charleston Housing Authority PO Box 86 Charleston, WV 25321 Phone:(304) 348-6451 Fax:(304) 348-6455 VP of Housing Shaundra Clark Tifton Housing Authority PO Box 12 Tifton, GA 31794 Phone: (229) 382-5434 Fax: (229) 382-1327 VP of Professional Development Cindy Preast Harrington Bluefield Housing Authority PO Box 1475 Bluefield, WV 24701 Phone: (304) 325-9653 Fax: (304) 325-9539 VP of Member Services Anthony Goodson, Jr. Housing Authority of the City of Goldsboro 700 N. Jefferson Ave Goldsboro, NC 27530 Phone: (919) 735-4226 Fax: (919) 731-4402 VP of CR&D Michael Wong Harrisonburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority

PO Box 1071 Harrisonburg, VA 22803 Phone: (540) 434-7386 Fax: (540) 432-1113 VP of Commissioners Johnny Johnson Mississippi Regional Housing Authority IV PO Box 1051 Columbus, MS 39703 Phone: (662) 327-8986

David E. Baldwin is the executive director/CEO of the Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Bristol, VA. He has been employed in the public and assisted housing industry since 1977, serving at three public housing agencies. Dave has been at Bristol since 2003. He is a past-president of the Virginia Association of Housing and Community Development Officials. He has served as senior vice president, treasurer, and vice president with portfolio, and is the current president of the Southeast Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (SERC-NAHRO). Sean Gilbert is the senior vice president of housing for the Knoxville Community Development Corporation in Knoxville, TN where he has been for the past two years. Sean has his bachelor’s degree in urban planning from Virginia Tech. He was the executive director of Housing Authority of Pikeville, August 1995–February 2014. Sean serves as the senior vice president for SERC. Jeanette Henderson is the deputy director of housing services for the Albany Housing Authority in Albany, GA. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and has 30 years experience in public housing management. Jeanette is a former president of GAHRA, and she currently serves as chairperson of the commissioner’s committee and as a member of the scholarship committee. Jeanette also serves as secretary for SERC and is a member of NAHRO’s housing committee. Mark E. Taylor is the CEO of the Charleston-Kenawha Housing Authority. He has over 16 years experience in public housing and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Mark is a district two board member for WVAHA. He is the current treasurer for SERC and is a past vice president for housing and for CR&D. Shaundra Clark of Tifton, GA is the current vice president of housing for SERC. Shaundra serves as executive director at the Tifton, GA housing authority and has over 21 years experience in public housing. She holds a business administration degree as well as a master’s in public policy and administration. Shaundra is chairperson of the convention committee and past president for GAHRA, and has served on numerous SERC committees in the past. Cindy Peast Harrington is the Executive Director of Bluefield Housing Authority in Bluefield, WV. Cindy has over 31 years of experience working with Public Housing Agencies, with the last 26 serving in the position of Executive Director at Bluefield. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Marshall University and Master’s Degree from Mountain State University. She has served as Board Member, Secretary, Vice President and President of the West Virginia Association of Housing Agencies, as well as on numerous committees. She is currently serving as Chair of the WVAHA Professional Development Committee. Cindy has also served on several SERC committees, including Rental Assistance (Chair), Nominating, History and Archival (Chair), and Professional Development. She served as Program Chair for the 2015 Annual Conference and is serving as Annual Conference Chair for the 2017 Annual Conference. Anthony Goodson, Jr is the chief executive officer of the Housing Authority of the City of Goldsboro in Goldsboro, NC. He has approximately 12 years service in public housing and serves as the board secretary for CCHRCO. Anthony is vice president of member services for SERC and serves as a member of the 40 under 40 committee and the rental assistance committee. Michael Wong is the executive director of the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He has 15 years service in public housing and is past president of VAHCDO. Michael serves as vice president of CR&D for SERC and as a member of the legislative committee. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from James Madison University. Johnny Johnson of Houston, MS has served as president of Regional Housing Authority IV Board for the past 21 years. He also currently serves as the president of commissioners for the South Eastern Regional Housing Authority. He received “Commissioner of the Year” for the National Association of Housing for the year 2013. Johnny is retired from the military where he was a bronze star recipient, and is a retired educator having taught in both the Mississippi and Alabama public school systems. His other community service includes serving as the grand senior warden for the M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge for the State of Mississippi. He is the worshipful master for McIntosh Lodge #80, in Houston, MS. He served on the State of Mississippi Personnel Board as president, Hospital Auxiliary Board, Chamber of Commerce Board, United Way Education Chairman, and the CAFB Community Council.


SERC COMMITTEES I CHAIRS I 2015-2017 Executive Committee Steering Committee

President Sr. VP Secretary Treasurer VP Commissioners VP Professional Development VP CR&D VP Member Services VP Housing

Dave Baldwin Sean Gilbert Jeanette Henderson Mark Taylor Johnny Johnson Susan Lillis Michael Wong Anthony Goodson, Jr. Shaundra Clark

State Representatives AL FL GA KY MS NC TN SC VA WV

Lance Armstrong Miguell Del Campillo Angela Strickland Shauna Boom Judy Mellard Bobbi Warmack 2016 / Burne Jim Payne Donna Lamer Lisa Porter Vickie Lester

Past Presidents Immediate PP Second PP Third PP

Ailrick Young Thomas Rowe Tina Akers-Brown

President’s Portfolio

Dave Baldwin

Annual Conference Committee 2016—Biloxi, MS Conference Chair Program Chairperson Exhibits Chairperson Registration Opening Ceremony Ushers Awards Ceremony Flag Ceremony Golf Tournament 2017—Nashville, TN Conference Chair Program Chairperson Exhibits Chairperson Registration Opening Ceremony Ushers Awards Ceremony Flag Ceremony Golf Tournament Hospitality Emerging Leaders

Shannon Biggs (Chair) Donna Lamer Connie Howard Jake Oglesby Angie Strickland Judy Mellard Angela Childers Antonio Williams Charlie Harrington Tom Wachs

Small Agency Task Force Youth Leadership Development Executive Committee Coordinator Strategic Plan Coordinator


Lisa Porter (Chair) VA Tom Wachs, Co-Chair AL Abraham Williams, Co-Chair KY Marilyn Medley TN Joyce Floyd TN

Senior Vice President’s Portfolio Sean Gilbert

Budget Committee Clifton Clark (Chair) WV BC member: Dannie Walker AL BC member: Gail Sansbury FL BC member: All Steering Comm Members Legislative Committee Mike Sweet (Chair) AL Policy Advisory Committee Thomas Rowe (Chair) TN PA member: Tina Akers-Brown NC PA member: Austin Simms KY PA member: Don Cameron SC PA member: Ailrick Young MS Nominating Committee Ailrick Young (Chair) MS NC member: Thomas Rowe SC NC member: Tina Akers-Brown NC NC member: Wanda Stevens-Ruckman VA NC member: Edwina Burnett SC Intern’l Research & Global Exchange Miguell Del Campillo (Chair) FL Site Selection Committee Thomas Rowe, Co-Chair TN Shannon Biggs, Co-Chair KY


Secretary’s Portfolio

History/Archival Committee Resolutions

Treasurer’s Portfolio


VP Housing’s Portfolio

Housing Committee Rental Assistance Committee

VP CR&D’s Portfolio C R & D Committee

Jeanette Henderson

Antonio Williams (Chair) Dannie Walker (Chair)

Mark Taylor

Becky Holmes

Shaundra Clark

Ginger Ming (Chair) Sheryl Fortune (Chair)

Michael Wong

Brenda Willis (Chair)


VP Professional Development’s Portfolio Cindy Preast Professional Development (Fall Workshop) Administrative Practice Education and Training

Cindy Preast (Chair) WV Royal Ann Spencer MS Connie Howard SC Jake Oglesby GA Angie Strickland GA Joyce Floyd TN Angela Childers SC Shaunte Evans NC Charlie Harrington VA Tom Wachs AL Jan Piersol (Chair) SC Sonia Meredith (Chair) WV Mentors: The NAHRO Fellows

Buddy Oldfield (Chair) GA Douglas Freeman (Chair) Becky Hartman (Chair)


VP Member Services’ Portfolio Anthony Goodson, Jr.

Public Affairs/SERCulator Member Services Scholarship Insurance-Housing Benefits Plan Retirement-HART

VP Commissioners’ Portfolio Commissioners

*Denotes chair person


Reta Thomas (Chair) GA Latonia Simmons (Chair) GA Madelyn Dotson, Co-Chair WV Johnny Black, Co-Chair VA Don Alexander TN Ed Johnston KY

Johnny Johnson

John Austin (Chair)


NAHRO Fellows program recognizes SERC members The NAHRO Fellows Program honors individuals for their accumulated wisdom and mastery as seen by their achievements and their actions within their own communities. NAHRO Fellows have demonstrated, over a sustained period of time, their commitment to improve the housing conditions of their fellow citizens and/or the viability and sustainability of the community in which they live and work. Recipients may use “NAHRO Fellow” professionally as a designation and will be called on to mentor and serve NAHRO and its members. NAHRO instituted an “Ask a Fellow” program to provide emerging leaders with access to the Fellows’ knowledge of the industry and their leadership skills to help guide them up the ranks in their own agency or the association. Fellows are also available as presenters to share their knowledge at meetings when their schedule permits.

Six of our SERC Region’s 9 NAHRO Fellows pictured: Tina Akers-Brown (NC), [Renee Rooker (WA), Carlos Sanchez (MI)], Austin Simms (KY), Don Cameron (SC), Jake Oglesby (GA), Winston Henning (TN), L. Thomas Rowe (TN)

L. Thomas Rowe receiving his medal as a new NAHRO Fellow.

Winston Henning shaking NAHRO Fellow Don Cameron’s (SC) hand

Jacob Oglesby receiving his medal as a new NAHRO Fellow





Housing Professionals Servicing the State



OPP—Workshops explore Life 101

Alabama’s Andalusia and Opp Housing Authorities partnered to host a True Elegance Bootcamp for high school seniors. The goal of the boot camp was to help prepare the teenagers for what comes after graduation. Volunteers facilitated sessions for discussion of life topics such as car mechanics, banking, college, etiquette and suicide prevention. Seniors were able to participate in demonstrations to enhance the learning experience. The staffs of both housing authorities will continue to mentor these students during their senior year.

ANDALUSIA— A place to call their own! Andalusia Housing Authority recently participated in presentation of a seminar entitled “A Place to Live.” Mr. Phillip Winslett, a representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Direct Homeownership Loan Program, explained that the USDA has been helping low-income families purchase homes since 1949. Monthly payments are low and based on income, with no down payment. Interest rates are as low as 1% with loan terms of 33 or 38 years. Attendees were encouraged to clear up any credit problems and contact Mr. Winslett for application assistance. The free seminar was open to all members of the community.




Carolinas Council of Housing Redevelopment & Codes Officials

GREENSBORO—celebrates 75 years


(Left to right) U.S. Congresswoman Alma Adams, Resident Council President Gloria Rankin, NC State Senator Gladys Robinson, Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson, GHA youth Courtney Kimbrough; CEO Tina Akers Brown, and Board Chairperson Dr. Manuel Dudley.

GHA celebrates its 75th anniversary by “Celebrating the Past and Welcoming the Future”. GHA’s Anniversary has been incorporated in events held in late 2016 and throughout 2017. As part of last year’s National Night Out, residents received banners and fans denoting the historic occasion and anniversary cakes were supplied to resident councils for events being held this year. A display at the Greensboro Historical Museum gave visitors a view of GHA’s past as well as information about our current operations and future plans. Those attending the program were able to view Power Points of our past, present and future and view a video produced by UNCG’s media students especially for GHA’s 75th anniversary. Throughout its 75 years, Greensboro Housing Authority has held true to its mission to provide safe, quality, affordable housing to low-income families, elderly and the disabled in the Greensboro community.

Summer of fun and learning ends with “The BIG Bash”

With funding from Arts Greenboro and through a partnership with Foxfire Productions Performing Arts Center, Greensboro Housing Authority (GHA) provided another great summer for youth in GHA’s affordable housing communities. This is the fourth year GHA’s “It’s Your Time to Shine”. Theater Arts Program has offered youth the opportunity to help write, perform, direct and produce a summer play. Aja Boyd, Zamari Boyd, Honesti Cooper and Myisha Miller (aka Squeaky, Grandpa Wilber, String Bean, and Stinky) break into song while “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”.

The BIG Bash, a party/hoedown held by Grandpa Wilber to raise the community’s spirits, features performances by youth ages 5-17 years old.

HIGH POINT— hosts international visitors

The Housing Authority of the City of High Point (HPHA) was recently selected as the last stop for the U.S. State Department’s international guests’ two-week visit to the U.S.A. The visitors were from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia and Slovakia. The group of European officials visited the HPHA on May 31; the theme of their visit was “America’s multi-ethnic society.” The Department of State wanted the visitors to experience the change in America from a black and white society to a multi-ethnic society, and HPHA’s diverse and peaceful communities were selected to model that change. The following criteria were considered by the Department of State when looking for a model community:

• introduce the ethnic, religious, linguistic, and racial diversity in American culture; • increase understanding of the contributions made and challenges faced by minority groups in the United States; • examine U.S. policies on immigration and citizenship, the different players that influence policy formation and implementation, and the public and private sector programs that facilitate the integration of immigrants into American society; • examine how perceptions about ethnicity, cultural heritage and national identity affect the ability of immigrant and minority youth to find their place in a diverse society; • introduce programs that promote civic responsibility and assist immigrant and minority youth in marginalized communities to work for social, economic, and political empowerment.

HPHA Board Chairperson Bob Davis and HPHA CEO Angela McGill, along with High Point City Councilman Chris Williams and Lt. Greg Dupke of the High Point Police Department, made presentations to the group. The visitors were invited to the United States through the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The HPHA is proud to have been selected as a model for multi-ethnic living peacefully together in thriving communities.


FLORIDA l NEWS FORT. MYERS—welcome interns


Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) internship program is returning for the third year at the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers (HACFM). The term ‘how time flies’ best describes this school year experience to the incoming interns. It seems like just yesterday the two interns interviewed for their positions! The College of Health Professions and Social Work continues to partner with the HACFM. Lakeyatta Hayward, former FGCU intern and current employee with Lee County Housing Authority, who earned her master’s degree in social work from Barry University, has been assigned the field instructor position where she will work very closely with the new FGCU interns. Working with FGCU’s intern program this year are Dr. Nairruti Jani, assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and Professor Lori Carroll, returning field education coordinator & instructor in the Department of Social Work.

From left are this year’s interns, Christy Billburg and Gakirra Johnson with Lakeyatta Hayward.

PINELLAS—“Get Ready” program partnership with Habitat for Humanity

Every day in Pinellas County, Florida and throughout the United States, the American dream of homeownership is becoming a reality for families through the work of Habitat for Humanity. The Pinellas County Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County have partnered to bring the new “Get Ready” program to assist public housing families move forward toward their dream of homeownership. The kick off orientation for the new “Get Ready” program was Sept. 22. Participants in the program will receive the services needed to prepare them to purchase their own home. This may include, but is not limited to, one-on-one homeownership counseling, first-time homebuyer training, credit repair expertise and assistance, and financial management readiness. In addition, when candidates complete their homeownership and financial budgeting sessions, they will receive the first-time homebuyer certificates that may assist with down-payment. As a leader and innovator, the mission of the Pinellas County Housing Authority is to provide safe, quality housing for persons in need and to cultivate healthy, vibrant neighborhoods for Pinellas County. Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. The two organizations seem like a perfect fit as partners!

More about Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County:

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County has constructed 369 homes for struggling families in Pinellas County using locally raised funds. Volunteers and the future homeowners construct the homes, which are sold at no profit and financed with a zero-interest loan. Habitat Pinellas homeowner candidates earn 30 to 80 percent of area median income. For Pinellas County, that translates to as little as $27,000 a year for a family of four. Candidates must also demonstrate need for adequate shelter; ability to pay back a zero-interest loan and willingness to partner with Habitat Pinellas to invest 250 to 350 sweat equity hours. Mortgage monies are used to build even more homes, making each donation to Habitat a perpetual legacy to the community. Habitat believes that home ownership contributes to family stability, leading in turn to community stability. Additionally, Habitat Pinellas raises funds through their ReStore program, a home improvement outlet where donated household and building items are sold to the public.

More about the Pinellas County Housing Authority:

Formed in 1965, the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) is an independent agency, operating under the authority of Florida Statute FS421. PCHA is governed by a five-member board of commissioners appointed by the governor of the state of Florida. PCHA is dedicated to creating, providing and increasing high quality housing opportunities in Pinellas County through effective and responsive management and responsible stewardship of public and private funds. The ability to cultivate strategic partnerships and develop innovative programs allows PCHA to bring together services and resources to assist families in working toward self-sufficiency. As the largest housing authority in Pinellas County, PCHA currently provides housing and rental assistance to approximately 8,500 individuals through agency-owned affordable housing, public housing, assisted living and the administration of the Housing Choice Voucher program.




TALLAPOOSA—becomes a RAD agency

It’s official, there’s no turning back now! The Housing Authority of the City of Tallapoosa, GA officially became a closed RAD housing authority on August 30. All the stock has been converted for a new beginning. Effective October 1, the authority became a multi-family agency with no more public housing operations. The RAD program will allow conversion of units to project-based Section 8 programs, providing an opportunity to invest dollars into properties that are at risk of being lost from the nation’s affordable housing inventory. With the new stream of cash flow and the program advantages to leverage private funds and grants, this should provide the necessary funds to maintain properties well into the future. The $1.2 million units in the public housing program have a documented capital needs backlog of nearly $26 billion and growing each year. We certainly feel that Executive Director Russell Nast and Chairperson Congress will not provide the necessary funds any time soon, thereby allowing the Ronnie Smith. aging process of our housing stock to continue. As a result, it is reported the public housing inventory has been losing an average of 10,000 units annually through demolitions and dispositions. The current public housing program prohibits housing authorities from leveraging private monies through grants and loans to properly maintain properties. By drawing on an established industry of lenders, owners, and stakeholders, RAD will allow preservation and improvement of affordable housing units. RAD creates greater funding certainty while allowing increased operational flexibility to empower housing authorities and owners to serve their communities. As a result of the 2015 appropriations act, HUD had the statutory authority to convert up to 185,000 units through RAD’s first component, and this allowed Tallapoosa to pursue the program change. The additional authority will widen program participation, and hopefully provide access to quality, affordable housing for low-income families in Tallapoosa, GA.

LaGRANGE—Life skills training provided for residents On March 31, West Georgia Star and the LaGrange Housing Authority started the first set of life skills classes on the property of Ben Hill. These classes were designed to help residents add to their skill set and become more self-sufficient. These life skills classes included various topics taught by some of the community’s finest instructors. Our students were very engaged with the instructors during classes, even sharing their life experiences at times. The instructors gave the students great tips on how to implement the information into their lives. Students were able to look at themselves from the inside to see what makes them react the way they do in different situations. The instructors also touched on how to utilize different coping skills that

On June 25, 2016 the following residents graduated from our first LIFE SKILL CLASSES: Dutchess Brooks, Ninouska Bultron, Nakia Cleveland, Vickie Cox, Tiffany Lovick, Travia Mabry, Bridgett Mason, April Rucker, Porshia Slaton, Hannah Smith, and Shamanda White.


will help when reactions are not good. The students were also provided workbooks to follow along as they call in to weekly radio sessions. During this 12 week course, two residents - Tiffany Lovick and Travia Mabry - became OSHA certified through the Troup Trained program, and both are now working full time jobs. Some of the classes that were taught during the 12 weeks were Effective Communication; Financial Management; Spiritual Wellbeing; First Aid & CPR; Job Readiness; Anger Management; Mental Health; Self Care for the Single Mother; Conquering your Depression and Mastering Negative Emotions; and Developing Your Personal Success Plan for Life.

celebrate National Night Out

August 2nd was not just an ordinary Tuesday night for residents of the Waycross Housing Authority! Through partnering with community leaders, the authority hosted National Night Out activities at the Garlington Heights Community Center. The Waycross Fire Department allowed children of all ages to explore a ladder truck and meet Sparky the fire dog. The Waycross Police Department was also on site, demonstrating how the lights and sirens on their cars work, and talking with kids about general safety issues. Snow cones, popcorn, pizza, and hot dogs were served; music was played, and a fun-filled time was enjoyed by all.




KHA—Annual conference in Bowling Green

The Kentucky Housing Association’s annual conference was held at the Holiday Inn September 12-15 in Bowling Green. This year’s theme was ‘Piecing it Together.’ There were approximately 275 people in attendance. Session topics included the streamlining rule, community service, recent changes impacting the voucher program, asbestos removal certification training and the latest updates on accounting. David Baldwin, SERC president and John Bohm, NAHRO acting CEO attended the conference.

Hall of fame

Each year at the annual conference, Kentucky Housing Association (KHA) selects members to be inducted into the KHA Hall of Fame. Contenders are nominated by their peers, must be an active member of KHA, and are considered based on how they have supported and enhanced KHA’s missions and goals, leadership roles they have filled, and support they have provided fellow KHA members. This year’s recipients are Mike Buis, executive director of the Cynthiana Housing Authority and Donna McNicholas, executive director of the Cadiz Housing Authority. Both of these inductees are past presidents of KHA, commitKHA President Shauna Boom presents the award to Ms. McNicolas and tee members of the KHA Self Insurance Fund, committee Mr. Buis. members of the KHA Youth Sports Program, and have served in many other roles within the association.

Small Agency Forum

The Kentucky Housing Association (KHA) held its first small agency forum during the recent annual conference at Bowling Green’s Holiday Inn. John Bohm, NAHRO acting CEO, and Lisa Porter, SERC small agency task force chairperson, presented information on the SHARP legislation and facilitated a session on goals of KHA membership for providing information to its small agency members.


MISSISSIPPI l NEWS STARKVILLE—Monthly raffles—a win-win

LAUREL—staff helps resident with education expenses


In July of this year, Starkville Housing Authority began having monthly raffles for tenants who pay their rent on time. The raffles motivate tenants to pay rent on time and avoid late charges and court costs. Tenants’ response to the new idea has been positive, and they are eager to enter. To be eligible, rent must be paid in full by 9:00 a.m. on the 11th of each month. Tenants complete a short entry form giving their name, unit number, date the rent was paid and phone number. Once a name is drawn, the tenant is informed and can come by the office to receive their gift. Gifts consist of items such as glassware, doormats, fans, laundry supplies, and other household items that will be useful to the residents.

County Junior College in Ellisville, MS pursuing an associate degree in computer technology, and then further his studies at Mississippi State University. He is a member of Springhill Baptist Church of Ellisville. Pictured in photo is the education committee with the recipient and his mom, 1st row: Barbara Gavin, Hilary Burroughs, mother of recipient Starlett Stover, George Stover, III, Mandy Buchanan. 2nd row: Felicia Jackson, Ailrick D. Young and Ruby Jones..

Mr. George Stover, III is the recipient of Laurel Housing Authority’s 2016 educational stipend. This stipend is funded by the staff of the authority to recognize outstanding graduating high school senior residents who have maintained positive academic records during their high school tenure. Mr. Stover is a 2016 graduate of J.B. Shelton Academy, Mobile, Alabama. He plans to attend Jones

CORINTH—Summer youth camp

In partnership with the Easom Outreach Center, The Corinth Housing Authority recently held the 2nd annual summer camp for Corinth Housing Authority children in grades Pre-K through 5th. The camp was in session Monday through Friday from July 1–July 29, with an end of camp program on Saturday, July 30. Educational classes were offered such as health, nutrition, science, reading and vocabulary. Arts and crafts and table and floor games were provided, along with field trips to the local park and the Malco movie theater. The Corinth Police Department, Corinth Fire Department and Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition visited with the children and discussed various dangers and safety measures for today’s kids. Every Friday was ‘Party Friday” when the children got to make their own ice cream sundaes and fruit salads and share popcorn and lemonade. A total of 19 children from three of the housing authority’s complexes attended the camp along with four parent volunteers, making the 2nd annual summer camp program a great success.

LAUREL—Summer employment for young residents

In an attempt to give teenagers work experience and a way to earn money over the summer, the housing authority of the city of Laurel, Mississippi offered summer employment to public housing youth. The Youth Summer Employment Program provided jobs to young people ages 16 to 21. Participants worked up to 320 hours in an eight week program, and they gained professional experience performing general office and maintenance duties. Each participant who finished the program received a certificate of completion. Youth also attended a “Banking for your Future” session with representatives from Trustmark National Bank. The presentation included materials and discussion on personal money management, educational options and opportunities, and goal-setting for the future. Shown in the picture are Trustmark National Bank representatives Diane Herrington, assistant vice president, Kelly Lawson, vice-president of commercial banking, and participants of the summer youth program.


TENNESSEE l NEWS JCHA—Housing authority wins National Merit Award for apartment development


During NAHRO’s summer conference, the Johnson City Housing Authority was presented the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Award of Merit: Affordable Housing for Alan Court Apartments. “The NAHRO Awards of Merit Program was created to give national recognition to NAHRO member organizations that have found innovative ways of making a difference in the communities and the lives of the people they serve” said, NAHRO President Steve Merritt. Johnson City has become a landing place for a vast number of homeless veterans due to its proximity to the Mountain Home Veteran’s Administration. By partnering with the Veterans Administration, the Johnson City Housing Authority is able to offer housing to veterans near the supportive services they need to reach their goals. “This program celebrates achievement and honors the work that our members do each day to ensure our clients have a safe, affordable place to call home by

showcasing the efforts of housing agencies and agency officials,” said NAHRO Acting CEO John Bohm. “We hope that the general public, community leaders, private industry and government itself will become inspired to reform and enhance existing housing and community development programs.” anti-drug programs, social services, and self-sufficiency. Project design includes efforts such as new housing design, housing modernization, enduring design, and landscape design.

Cookeville—Teens summer day camp Teens Need Training (TNT) summer day camp program met four days a week for six weeks this summer. TNT youth enjoyed swimming, hiking, watching movies, and working out at CrossFit Mayhem with Rich Froning, the world’s fittest man, and his trainers. Community focus included local government operations and environmental issues, with trips to city and county offices to meet the mayor and county executives, as well as a visit inside Dale Hollow Dam. A strong emphasis was placed on job-training and education, with numerous visits to local industries, including IWC Food Distributors – a large regional food wholesaler. The Teens Need Training program is for youth who reside in Highlands Residential Services, a public housing community of Cookeville, TN.

JACKSON— Women reach goals to become self sufficient

“Reach your goal and get rewarded!” That is Donna Wade’s reaction to completing the Section 8 FSS program in July. Wade enrolled in the program in January 2013. She did not graduate from high school, and she was determined to obtain her GED while in the program. “This program has kept me motivated and focused on getting my GED,” Wade said. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at taking the GED test, she became even more determined. She continued to work, attend GED classes and raise her 8-year-old daughter on her own. On July 26, Wade’s goal of obtaining her GED was a reality. She had a lot of excitement in her voice as she told others she passed. “I am so happy to have been a part of the FSS program,” she said. “I reached my goal, and received an award along with it.” Candace Allen started on her road to self-sufficiency in 2013 when she was accepted in public housing‘s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program. The program allowed her to work and budget her funds appropriately, she said. “I

was given many tools and knowledge regarding my plans to return to school. In 2015, I transferred to the Section 8 FSS program.” Allen graduated from nursing school at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Jackson last April and recently got a job with her new degree. She more than doubled her salary. “My credit score is higher than I could ever imagine, and I am on my way towards homeownership options,” she said. “Words simply cannot express how grateful I am for the FSS program and the FSS coordinators who go above and beyond to ensure the success of others. Thank you JHA and HUD!” Candace Allen


Donna Wade

VIRGINIA l NEWS HOPEWELL—Virginia resident is FSS success story


Piper Square resident and Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) participant Shalania Coleman has lived in public housing with her three children for the six years. On August 12, Coleman earned an associate’s degree and became a certified medical assistant. She passed her state board exams in July which officially qualified her for graduation at Chester Career College. Coleman joined FSS two years ago. When asked if she ever thought about continuing her education, she responded, “Oh goodness, no way! I can’t go back to school. I have kids.” Graduation was a great accomplishment for her, but it wasn’t her first one of the year. She was hired full-time in March at the doctor’s office where she completed her externship for Chester Career College. Hopewell Redevelopment & Housing Authority (HRHA) is extremely proud of Coleman’s success!

NORFOLK—NRHA’s Jobs Plus program: breaking the cycle of poverty The impact of poverty is crushing. Until now, it has been a legacy handed down from generation to generation. Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s new Jobs Plus program offers the very real possibility of breaking this cycle. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Human Services (HUD) awarded Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) a $2.7 million grant to establish a Jobs Plus pilot program. NRHA is one of just nine housing authorities across the country to receive a grant. HUD official Catherine Lamberg says NRHA was chosen because it “has a track record of delivering results.” The program opened its doors on July 1, and is targeting Young Terrace. The city’s largest public housing neighborhood, Young Terrace has the highest rate of unemployment. The community has 733 households, 413 of which have no income. This represents a staggering 63% unemployment rate as compared to 40-45% in other low income communities. “While NRHA is taking the lead with this program, we can’t do this work without partners. Right now, we have a number of key partners whose support is deeply appreciated,” says Lucy Major, Jobs Plus program manager, “but more are needed.” Current partners include AARP, City of Norfolk Community Services Board, City of Norfolk Recreation, Park and Open Spaces Department, Hampton Roads Community Health Center, Opportunity Inc., United Way of Southeast Hampton Roads and Virginia Employment Commission. Second Calvary Baptist Church serves as the program’s faith community. Tiara Lassiter, a Young Terrace resident and a Jobs Plus participant, shares her hopes for the program, “All I want is to get Lucy Major

out of low income housing and be able to pay a real mortgage. I want security. I want to know I can pay my bills. Most of all, I want to instill values in my daughter. I want her to have a better life.” Lassiter, who is a Jobs Plus community coach, is a committed cheerleader for the program. She is passionate about getting her community to unite around this project and get more people involved. “From my perspective, our biggest challenge is getting residents to change how they think,” Lassiter says. “Many are scared of change, so changing their mind set is our biggest hurdle. We’ve got to break the mold - to build each person up.” Based on results to date, the Jobs Plus program is showing potential for great success. In its grant application, the fouryear target was to serve at least 250 Young Terrace residents through the Jobs Plus program. Breaking that down, the goal for this year was providing service to 60 residents. But, according to Jobs Plus Coordinator Ebony Johnson, community response has been so overwhelmingly enthusiastic that by the end of just the first two months of operation over 310 people have signed up to participate in the program.

Tiara Lassiter


Ebony Johnson

WEST VIRGINIA l NEWS WVAHA—Annual conference in Glade Springs


The WV Association of Housing Agencies held their annual conference at the beautiful Glade Springs Resort in Daniels, WV September 13–15. In keeping with tradition, the conference was kicked off with a golf tournament, followed by a great agenda and many fun evening activities. The agenda offered training on the following topics: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulations, provided by Dennis Morgan; Hot Topics in PHA/HCV Finance, provided by Claire Russ of BDO PHA Finance; Unit Turnaround Training for Maintenance Managers, provided by Bill Cogley of Training Services Association; UPCS-V Update, PIC and EIV Records and Reports, Lead Paint Update, and SEMAP Audit Guidelines, provided by regional and area HUD office staff; and Purchasing Guidelines for West Virginia Government Agencies, presented by staff from the state of West Virginia’s purchasing division. Bill Tamburrino, director of the Baltimore HUD Field Office, met with WV executive directors to discuss planned HUD initiatives and changes. He reviewed the AFFH requirements, talked about the impact the change in administration will have on HUD and PHA’s after the election, and discussed the upcoming smoke free housing regulations. John Bohm, acting executive director/CEO of NAHRO was also in attendance, providing a legislative update for WVAHA members. Host agencies Raleigh County Housing Authority and Beckley Housing Authority provided evening entertainment for attendees -- s’mores by the fire, corn hole, volley ball and a pizza party were just some of the activities. A poker tournament raised funds for scholarships and gave poker fans a chance to test their skills. Members enjoyed networking and having fun while enjoying the beautiful surroundings at Glade Springs.

LEFT” The lucky scholarship basket winners.

WVAHA hosts retreat for commissioners and executive directors

The WVAHA provided training for executive directors and commissioners in August at the South Charleston Country Club. Hosted by South Charleston Housing Authority, the morning training provided an opportunity for commissioners and executive directors to hear from the WV Ethics Commission on the WV Open Meetings Act and changes in labor laws, presented by Tom Klee, attorney with the Steptoe and Johnson law firm. After a networking lunch, commissioners worked with Mary Kern, CPA, to learn about financial statements and ethics from a commissioners perspective, while the executive directors heard from PHA Finance regarding the OMB Super Circular and the changes it has brought about. Attendees not only received timely and important information, but enjoyed the time to get to know new commissioners in WV, as well as visit with some old friends. This training was one of many provided in West Virginia

this year. The professional development committee was busy this year and sponsored Combined Rent Calculation Training and Public Housing Management Certification, both provided by Nan McKay and Associates, as well as Eligibility Training provided by Nelrod. WVAHA helped to offset the costs for members by subsidizing part of the total cost of training. WVAHA leadership, under President Vickie Lester, executive director of Huntington Housing Authority, has strived to provide affordable and quality training for West Virginia PHA’s.



2 016 l NAHRO Summer Annual Conference MAHRO President Dave Baldwin welcomes members to the conference.

Keynote speaker Ernie Hudson.

SERC members attend conference would entailed, the day ended with a welcome reception.

SERC was well represented at this year’s NAHRO Summer conference held July 14-17 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon.

Day two started with a continental breakfast that included film star and activist Ernie Hudson as speaker. Hudson’s road to fame had its share of hardships. Hudson was born into poverty and raised in public housing in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in a time where civil rights had a long road ahead. He persevered through it all, and was always supported by his grandmother, who

The first day was filled with committee meetings allowing SERC members serving dual roles on NAHRO committees an opportunity to interact with executive directors, commissioners, maintenance and staff from around the United States. After a brief overview of what the conference


Above: Don and Faye Cameron, Charleston, SC with NAHRO friends.


Left: SERC President David Baldwin from Bristol, TN, Dianne Roberts from San Antonio, TX, and Past-SERC President Ailrick Young from Laurel, MS.

SERC members at NAHRO Summer Annual Conference I 2016 taught him patience and graciousness. The wisdom Hudson gained before his Hollywood days allow him to relate to struggling individuals and communities. He understands the challenges of overcoming seemingly insurmountable problems and inspires others to keep trying. Hudson shared the secrets of how to land dream roles, not just on the stage or screen, but roles important to everyday life. The day also included numerous educational sessions and concluded with a tour of a local housing development. Concurrent sessions continued through Saturday, which included the emerging leaders’ brown bag luncheon, and ended with a fun evening event.

SERC member Rebellious Cole, Memphis, TN with NAHRO member.

The closing breakfast on Sunday featured Stacey Bess, an inspirational speaker, educator and author who spoke on the importance of continued on next page

SERC member Nola Popoola, Opelike, AL with NAHRO members.

Rogjt� SERC member Shaunte Evans, Charlotte, NC and NAHRO friend.

Portland skyline at night from the river.


SERC Members at NAHRO Summer Annual Conference I 2016 service, mentorship, leadership, and overcoming adversity. Drawing on her fascinating and inspirational personal story of teaching homeless children in a small shed known as The School with No Name, she offered powerful insights and lessons that inspired us to make a difference within our individual communities. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) is a professional membership organization comprised of approximately 20,000 housing and community development agencies and officials throughout the United States who administer a variety of affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

SERC Vice President Sean Gilbert, Knoxville, TN

SERC member Tina Ackers-Brown (center) with keynote speaker.

Group from Spartenburg, SC.

SERC member Terril Bates, 2nd from the right, in a session, Spartanburg, SC.


Past president Ailrick Young with NAHRO Fellow Carl S. Richie, Jr. from Austin, TX.

2016 NAHRO Awards of Me rit —A ro u n d SERC

Greensboro, NC receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Memphis, TN receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Pinellas County, FL receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Burlington, NC receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Portsmouth, VA receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Johnson City, TN receives NAHRO Award of Merit.


2016 NAHRO Awards of Me rit —A ro u n d SERC City of Roanoke, VA receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Winter Park, FL receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Winter Haven, FL receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Spartanburg, SC receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

Dekalb, GA receives NAHRO Award of Merit.

RIGHT: The Laurel Housing Authority recently received a Resident and Client Services Award of Merit along with recognition from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for their “Border Crossing” program. This is a Spanish class conducted at Laurel Housing Authority’s James A. Townley Center with participants consisting of residents and other community members.


2 017 l NA HR O CALENDAR What Home Means to Me As part of NAHRO’s Housing America campaign, a poster contest is held each year for children living in affordable housing owned or administered by NAHRO member agencies. Posters reflect the national theme “What Home Means to Me.” The contest is a collaborative effort of NAHRO’s local and state chapters, regional chapters and the national organization. Proceeds from the calendar sales go to a fund for the winners of the poster calendar contest. The 12 national honorees will each receive $100 Visa gift cards and the National grand prize honoree will receive an iPad. The grand prize honoree and his or her family will also be provided with transportation and lodging to attend NAHRO’s 2017 Washington Conference. The grand prize honoree will also receive a framed copy of their original artwork and will tour Capitol Hill. This year, calendars are available for $7. Shipping charges are included. All of the proceeds go to the 2017 contest winners’ gifts.



Your advocacy is working! Thank you to everyone who participated in the advocacy push during the August recess. I have confirmed that SERC members submitted action letters on all of the different alerts (SHARP, LIHTC, Capital Fund, THUD/Appropriations) during Mike Sweet the month and assisted NAHRO in meeting their goal of 1,500 letters submitted during the recess. It is my understanding that this is a 50% increase in the goal (1,000 letters) that was set and achieved for 2015. We continue to see indications that our advocacy efforts are making an impact with our congressional representatives. The House Financial Services Subcommittee held a hearing for September 21 to discuss topics that are relative to the public housing industry. Testimony was heard regarding the idea of regionalization of Housing Choice Vouchers, as well as testimony concerning the Small Agency Reform Bill (HR 4816). Our own Mr. Ailrick Young, SERC immediate past president, gave testimony in this hearing. I had a chance to briefly speak with Ailrick following the hearing, and he indicated that the subcommittee was receptive to his testimony and is interested in assisting with legislative resolution of our problems. Please keep up your advocacy ef-

forts, and if you haven’t had a chance, it isn’t too late for you to get involved. SERC-NAHRO/ NAHRO makes it simple for you to be active in the legislative efforts. The alerts posted at the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center (http:// are a very easy way for you to be involved with a minimal amount of time invested and still have your voice heard. Remember, the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”


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2017 SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference Agenda We have GREAT training in store for Nashville, make plans to attend now!! Some of the topics/speakers confirmed to date: FINANCE: PHA Finance will present “Everything You Need to Know about 2017!” – This seminar for all staff members will discuss strategies and techniques to protect reserves and survive challenges to funding. Topics include: Re-federalization of the COCC, Potential Offset of Public Housing Reserves, Anticipated Funding in 2017, PHAS implications in 2017, maximizing FDS scoring, 2017 important dates, as well as what you need to know about Section 8 and the Capital Fund program. SECTION 8: Nan McKay and Associates will be conducting training for Section 8 HOT TOPICS – catch up on all of the changes to the Section 8 program with one of the industry leaders in training! HOUSING: Nelrod’s Vickie Brower will be presenting the Housing Track, which will include: Fair Housing Sexual Harassment in Housing and Employment; Preparing for the completion of AFFH requirements; Working with Elderly and Disabled, understanding the problems they face; E-verify Processing; Interviewing skills needed to reduce allegations of discrimination

COMMISSIONERS: CPA Mary Kern will present pertinent information on Understanding Financial Reports and Understanding Financial Statements, and will discuss the Commissioners role in Understanding the agency’s accounting, personnel and hiring, procurement, Ethics, Fraud Prevention, and Audits. Don Clem, The Schiff Group, will discuss” What a good commissioner does and does not do, What Commissioners Need to Know about: Procurement , State Open Meetings Acts, Fair Housing and Operating with HUD in a New Administration; Overview of Programs operated by Housing Authorities; Roles of the Board and the ED and how they Complement Each Other. PHADA representatives will discuss how Commissioners can effectively advocate for their agencies.

SMALL AGENCIES: This action-packed track includes Lisa Walker, Attorney at Law, HDLI discussing How Small Agencies can comply with AFFH, When To Worry About Rulings Like Disparate Impact: and Informal Hearings for Small PHA’s; Don Clem, The Schiff Group, will discuss How small Agencies can Comply with Separation of Duties; Joe Schiff, The Schiff Group, will present a session for Where to Start with Development for Small Agencies;


SMALL AGENCIES: Continued PHADA staff will discuss efforts to help Small PHA’s and advocate for Small Agency Reform; Members of small agencies will have the chance to voice their concerns and special needs in a Small Agency Roundtable. CR&D: Megan Glasheen, Attorney at Law, Reno Cavanaugh, will discuss Transactional Pitfalls and Challenges of Doing Development and will provide an update on The AFFH process and discussion on how the AFFH site review requirement is affecting the new construction development process Joe Schiff, The Schiff Group, will have an open Ask Joe session, providing opportunities for participants to ask specific development questions; Jenny Hsu, NAHRO, will provide information about the National Housing Strategy/Housing Trust Fund: With the election and new change in administration what are the new CR&D initiative and a update on the housing trust fund? Insights on the new Administration’s housing policy and NAHRO’s 2017 legislative and regulatory priorities for our CR&D programs. Hear an update on the upcoming rulemaking for CPD programs and the FY18 appropriations process and spending bills. Tushar Gurjal, NAHRO will provide an update on H.R. 3700, Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) and its implications. SERC-NAHRO members who have blazed the trail for RAD will discuss RAD from start to end, giving honest and open feedback about the process and the results – or, Lessons Learned After RAD Closings!

ADMINISTRATIVE/OTHER: NAHRO Trainers will present Section 3 Training: Understand Section 3 requirements associated with federal funds; learn about HUD’s focus on Section 3 and program monitoring efforts; acquire information to develop a plan for your agency, including the necessary record keeping and compliance procession; learn methodologies to ensure contractor compliance; gain a comprehensive understanding of HUD’s Act of 1968 and Section 3 Regulation and Requirements; Discover HUD’s expectations and learn what to do to avoid a findings; Explore best practices in developing and maintaining the program; Increase confidence that your agency can meet HUD’s compliance requirements. NAHRO Trainers will also present Labor Standards Training, Gain an understanding of the housing authority’s responsibilities in enforcing labor standards regulations; develop an understanding of all facets of labor standards and prevailing wage enforcement requirements; examine procedures for a labor standards enforcement program; explore tools to assist in educating contractors about labor standards compliance; learn tips on how to monitor compliance and detect willful non-compliance, and what to do in case of non-compliance; review labor standards reporting requirements and record keeping; Don Clem, The Schiff Group will provide an update on the NEW administrations initiatives which will change after the 2016 Election. J.B. Smith, Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) will present a session on cyber fraud – protecting your agency and yourself from risks associated with cyber fraud.

OTHER TOPICS IN THE WORKS: NAHRO’s IRGE program Reading programs for our residents Data and policy research for small PHA’s and MORE!!! I

It’s not too late to get your topics added!!! We still have open sessions. If you have something you would like to see on the agenda, please contact:

Cindy Preast Harrington at


Getting your home ready for winter Reprinted with slight modifications from you also need to drain water from it by opening up the exterior faucet. You may also want to consider an insulated cover for the hose bib. And remember to disconnect your garden hoses from the sill cocks or outside faucets and drain them if you store them outside.

In the fall is when you want to get ready for the winter cold. The worst thing in the world is trying to put your storm windows in when its 20 degrees outside. Or worse, not having your sprinkler system purged before the freezing weather comes. Here is a fairly easy checklist of things to do to winterize your home. From plumbing to roof, we’ll walk through each system and hit the major things to make sure you do before winter so you can enjoy the snow and not worry about your home.

Insulation Everyone understands the importance of insulating your home. But there are some areas you can easily insulate to help prepare for winter. Insulating Tips • Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket you can buy at the hardware store. • Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with inexpensive foam sealing gasket. • If you don’t use your fireplace often and it leaks air, you can cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and stuff it into the fireplace behind your glass doors to block the cold air coming down the chimney. Of course you remove this when you make a fire.

Heating system checklist • Test run: Turn the thermostat to heat mode and set it to 80 degrees just for testing. You should hear the furnace turn on and warm air should blow within a few minutes. If it’s not running properly, now is the time to call a qualified service technician. • Seasonal maintenance: Have the furnace checked by a service technician. • Replace the air filter: Put in a new clean air filter. It’s easy, just open your return vent and pull out the old and place a new one inside. • Fuel: If you have a propane or oil furnace, make sure to have your fuel storage tank topped off and ready to go. • Heating vents: Clear obstacles to heating vents so air can freely flow.

Doors and windows Infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows is as significant a contributor to your heating bill as is poor insulation in the walls and ceiling. An easy way to reduce you heating bill is to reduce these drafts with simple weatherstripping. • On a day when it’s windy outside, close your windows and feel for air leaks. • Press rope caulk into all the joints where air is leaking. • Check for leaks around doors the same way, and check for weather-stripping on the side and bottoms of all doors. Install weather-stripping on any leaking doors.

Chimney and fireplace • Check that the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals. • Check flue damper operation. Make sure it opens and closes fully, and that it is able to be locked in the open or closed position. • Check chimney draft. Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly. Test this by taking several sheets of newspaper and rolling them up. Then with the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn’t, you have an obstruction and need to call a professional in to clean the chimney of creosote and ash and possible debris. • If it has been several years (or never!) since you had your fireplace chimney cleaned, you should have it done by a professional chimney sweep. Definitely not a fun DIY project. • Inspect the fire brick in the fireplace. If you see any open mortar joints have them repaired immediately! A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry fire brick through open mortar joints.

Roof Moving to the outside of the home, you should do a quick check of the roof. Either hire someone to inspect the roof if you are not comfortable safely doing this yourself, or inspect it yourself wearing solidly fastened shoes having non-skid soles. • Check roof for missing or damaged shingles and have them replaced. • Check flashing around chimneys and other roof projections which are often the source of leaks. • Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean, having no leaves. Wet leaves remaining in the gutters add weight, especially when frozen.

Landscape Lastly, you’ll want to prepare your yard for winter too. Let’s take a look at what can be done for the grass, deck and outdoor amenities around the home. • Cover patio furniture. • If your deck needs it, consider giving it a fresh coat of sealer before winter. • Winterize lawn by broadcasting winter fertilizer throughout grassy areas. • Drain the gas from your lawn mower or just let the mower run until it is out of gas. • Drain any water fountains, unplug the pumps and prepare for winter. • Have your sprinkler system winterized no later than the end of October.

Pipes and plumbing Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. Burst pipes from freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. So let’s go over some of the basics to make you have them covered. • Insulate exposed piping: If you have any exposed water or drain piping at all in uninsulated spaces such as in a crawlspace, attic, outside walls, etc., make sure to insulate them with foam insulation at a minimum. Ideally you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first, then insulate them. • Exterior faucets: Known as hose bibs or sill-cocks, the exterior faucet needs to have its water supply turned off inside the house, and


SERC Cares

READ 2 SUCCEED-Asheville, NC

Dear Serc Colleague, Please be reminded, the SERC Cares Initiative aims to assist a charity agency in the city we’ll be visiting with the assistance of local SERC housing authority members. Our hope is that the charity will benefit from the generosity of our members who attend the annual conference or Fall workshop. Once a charity agency is chosen, members are asked to make a monetary donation at the conference or workshop to that agency. As we look forward to our Fall workshop at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville on November 6-8, we are pleased to announce that Read 2 Succeed Asheville (R2S) has been chosen to be the beneficiary of our membership’s generosity for our SERC Cares Initiative. Please take a moment and visit their website at: . Donations are currently being received on line. Simply visit the website and click on SERC Care Initiative under the DONATE tab. In addition, donations via cash, check or on-line will also be received during the workshop in Asheville. The presentation will be made to R2S at the breakfast on Tuesday, November 8. Thank you in advance for your anticipated support of the SERC Cares Initiative.

ALL About R2S Read To Succeed Asheville (R2S) was created in 2009 through the collaboration of community activists and the Asheville Housing Authority. Inspired by the conviction that the achievement gap in Asheville City Schools would have long-term negative consequences for the economic and social fabric of our community, this partnership conceived a program aimed at increasing the number of elementary school children who are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. The program’s mission and goals are based on data indicating that for some groups of Asheville children only 25% to 40% are at reading level by the third grade. This puts them at considerable risk for failure to graduate from high school, juvenile misbehavior, early pregnancy and long-term unemployment. Our partner schools provide tutoring space and project support through their volunteer coordinators. Literacy specialists work closely with R2S to insure the best possible matches between R2S volunteers and students. The Read To Succeed staff includes approximately 100 volunteers, a fulltime paid program and training director and VISTA. Our volunteer reading coaches and buddies undergo comprehensive training and ongoing workshops throughout the school year and summer. They are encouraged to build positive nurturing relationships with their students in the belief that these connections will increase children’s motivation to learn as well as their self-esteem that flows from greater academic confidence.


201 7

2 017

Martin Luther King, Jr. SERC basketball challenge

For the past 25 years, young men and women, their coaches, chaperones, parents and members of public housing agencies and Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the southeastern region have traveled to various host states to take part in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. SERC basketball challenge. On January 13–17 the Housing Authority of Bowling Green will host the events in Bowling Green, KY. This year’s tournament theme is ‘Be someone’s hero.’ This joint venture will include participation from many of our local partners. The tournament games will take place at the city of Bowling Green’s two state-of-the-art gymnasiums located in the downtown district. Bowling Green is the home of the Corvette; visitors will tour the world renowned National Corvette Museum, as well as Western Kentucky University’s campus and first class athletic facilities. Additionally, the annual tournament banquet will take place at the National Corvette Museum banquet facilities that Saturday evening. Tournament play will begin on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. with the opening ceremony and reading of the proclamation by the mayor of Bowling Green. Approximately 30 teams with youth ages nine to eighteen will play throughout the day for championship placement. Tournament play will conclude on Sunday morning immediately followed by the awards ceremony. Trophies will be presented to the first, second and third place winners in age brackets twelve & under, fifteen & under, and eighteen & under. Each tournament participant will be presented with a tournament medal and commemorative shirt. Tournament visitors are invited to participate in the city of Bowling Green’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration events:

Sunday, January 13

Monday, January 14

Youth celebration of holiday kickoff @ 5:00 p.m. Ms. Dorothy Parker Jarrett, cousin of the late Emmitt Till will be the guest speaker for the event Memorial prayer breakfast @ 7:30 a.m. Memorial march @ 10:00 a.m. Celebration program @ 11:00 a.m. Dr. Gerald Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of African-American history and the Martin Luther King Jr. scholar-in-residence at the University of Kentucky will the keynote speaker for the event.

Local hotels have been reserved for traveling participants. For more tournament information please contact Mr. Abraham Williams, executive director, Housing Authority of Bowling Green at (270) 320-4504 or via email at or Ms. Shannah Banks, tournament coordinator at (270) 784-0576 or via email at



AILRICK YOUNG— SERC member represents small public housing agencies in Washington

Ailrick Young Laurel Housing Authority

GREENSBORO, NC— receives “Award of Excellence” Left: CEO Tina Akers Brown reads “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” by Barrack Obama to youth at GHA’s Claremont Courts Resource Center.

Greensboro Housing Authority (GHA) has been chosen as a recipient of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Awards of Excellence: Resident and Client Services for “Reading is My Superpower!” The award was presented recently in New Orleans, LA during NAHRO’s National Conference and Exhibition. “The NAHRO Awards of Excellence Program notifies the public of the virtuous work that NAHRO member organizations do for their residents and community. The award recognizes the innovative housing and community development projects, programs, and services that member organizations provide to make a difference in the lives they serve,” said NAHRO President Steve Merritt. In the summer of 2015, the Greensboro Housing Authority did more than feed the body of those attending the Summer Lunch Program in their communities. Thanks to 27 heroes, the “Reading is My Superpower!” program nourished young minds as well. These

heroes, all GHA staff members, volunteered their reading superpower and a portion of their lunch hours to visit and read to kids in their communities. “Reading is My Superpower!” combines existing resources to offer this low-cost literacy program for youth and challenges GHA to do more to place books in the hands of youth living in their communities. Due to the success of the program last year, “Reading is My Superpower!” was continued during the 2016 Summer Lunch Program. Right: Intake specialist Darren McGill dresses as the Cat in the Hat and shares his lunch hour and a story with children at Hampton Homes Resource Center.



Ailrick Young , executive director of Mississippi’s Laurel Housing Authority, was invited to testify at a Congressional Hearing on the Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016, H.R. 4816. This is the bill that has been introduced by Mississippi’s U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo. The scheduled date of the hearing was Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., and will have passed by press time. The Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016, H.R. 4816, has bi-partisan support, requires no additional appropriations from Congress, and relieves burdens faced by small housing authorities. This bill is discussed the MAHRO position paper, which contains two topics: Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act of 2016 (H.R. 4816) and Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 3700). “It was an honor to represent small housing authorities and testify on behalf of H.R. 4816 submitted by MS 4th District’s Congressman Steven Palazzo”, commented Ailrick Young.

VAHCDO— Celebrates 75 Years!

Our 75th Annual Conference and Scholarship Luncheon was held April 2729, 2016 at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hilton. We were honored to be joined by the President of NAHRO, Steve Merrit and the President of SERC, Dave Baldwin. Our opening session was followed by a “birthday celebration” reception for the estimated 150 attendees. Former VAHCDO presidents were invited and honored during the opening session, and six scholarships were awarded at the luncheon.


Why We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving The bird has long been the holiday’s star From Time Magazine Emelyn Rude Nov. 25, 2015

As Americans sit down to supper this Thanksgiving, the centerpiece of their celebratory dinners will, most likely, be a turkey. Why exactly the Turkey has been the star of “Turkey Day” since at least the mid-19th century is a matter of much debate, particularly given the consensus amongst historians that the Pilgrims and the Native Americans probably didn’t focus on the bird at the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621. Some give credit for the turkey’s preeminence to Sarah Joseph Hale, the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” whose accounts of early New England celebrations emphasized a roast turkey and eventually became the model for the festivities adopted by the rest of the country after Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863. Others credit the bird’s existing role in English celebratory feasts and the fact that its large size made it a practical item for such affairs. Others still believe it is because the turkey’s position as the most American of feathered creatures—Benjamin Franklin, after all, thought it a much more “respectable bird” than the Bald Eagle— makes it a fitting entrée for one of the most American of holidays. How exactly the turkey arrived at our forefather’s tables is much less of a mystery: The turkeys walked there. “Many have been the tales of the great cattle drives. Hardly anyone remembers the great turkey walks,” recounts author Kathleen Karr in her book The Great Turkey Walk. And indeed, in antebellum America a parade of thousands of turkeys gobbling their way down country roads to urban markets was a regular sight in the weeks before Thanksgiving. Vermont turkeys hiked their way to Boston, Kentucky and Tennessee turkeys marched proudly into Richmond, and some Western birds even found themselves driven the thousands of miles between Missouri and Colorado. The task of the turkey drover, as the individuals who herded the turkeys on these journeys were known, was no easy one. Roads in the late 18th and 19th centuries in the United States were generally pretty bad and accounts of the great turkey drives recall the flocks bravely fording streams and climbing rocky hills, or flying over lakes and rivers at least a mile across. In such conditions, according to one contemporaneous observer, the birds “were apt to crowd together and trample each other to death.” Should the birds become frightened, as turkeys are very want to do, “a cattle stampede [was] a tamer affair.” The long march of the turkeys was a slow business as well, with flocks typically ambling at a top speed of

one mile per hour. If a drover were lucky, throwing out enough corn and applying enough guidance with his long pole—topped with a red piece of cloth said to strike fear into the heart of even the most quarrelsome of turkeys—a turkey drive could cover 20 miles in a single day. Each night it was the particular habit of the turkeys to roost in adjacent trees and bushes until the following morning. Once the turkeys took the inclination to settle down, an experienced drover knew that “nothing would induce them to continue the march to the slaughtering pens.” Much to the annoyance of their human counterparts, in this behavior the birds often disregarded the actual time of day and mistook an overcast sky or even a heavily shaded portion of the road as indications that the sun was going down. Drovers would sometimes walk miles out of their way to avoid densely wooded spots that might tempt their birds to stop for the night, but even then a few errant bushes or the fine shrubbery of a Capitol Square would induce the turkeys to roost for the remainder of the day. While the modern turkey barely walks at all, these massive forced migrations of birds occurred well into the 1930s in some regions of the United States, particularly in the turkey towns of Texas, which held great celebratory “Turkey Trots” for the birds streaming in by the thousands for the slaughter. Upon sitting down to a lackluster, turkey-less Thanksgiving feast at the turn of the 19th century, founding father Alexander Hamilton once remarked, “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” And while such a proclamation is now fulfilled by railroad cars and refrigerated semi-trucks, for centuries this bold cry was only possible thanks to the men and women who literally walked these birds from farm to table. Emelyn Rude is a food historian and the author of Tastes Like Chicken, available in August of 2016.


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VAHCDO 2016 Legal and Policy Seminar—December 1-2 Richmond, VA KHA Executive Conference—December 11-14 Embassy Suites, Lexington, KY

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Winter Workshop— February 12 to 14 Embassy Suites (Downtown) – Charleston February 12, 2017 Board Meeting at 2:00 MAHRO Maintenance Workshop—February 22-24 Gold Strike Resort and Casino Tunica, MS

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