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

What Home Means to Me!






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Summer 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:

COVER: 1st place poster contest winners: ELEMENTARY: Desire Randle, West Point, MS MIDDLE SCHOOL: Adaysha Hodge, Danville, VA HIGH SCHOOL: Zayveyon Kinsey, Douglas, GA See page 25 for other entries and winners.

TABLE of CONTENTS: President’s message.......................................... 3 SERC officers....................................................... 4 SERC committees............................................... 5 SERC committee meetings............................... 6 NAHRO/PHADA/SERC........................................ 7 State news..................................................... 8-16 SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference............ 18-23 Scholarship basket winners............................. 24 Poster contest winners..................................... 25 Legislative update........................................... 26 Back to school.................................................. 28 Recognitions..................................................... 32 Battle of the states golf tournament.............. 33 West Virginia flood........................................... 35 SERC upcoming events................................... 36

The SERCulator 2

A message from your SERC President Greetings Serc Colleagues: Summer is almost behind us. The kids in Bristol, Virginia will be heading back to school next week. In fact, the kids in our sister city of Bristol, Tennessee, went back to school on August 1! I hope that you and your families had time for some rest and relaxation – at the beach or in the mountains, at a theme park or even in your own backyard. These times together with family and friends are truly the treasured moments of life. One of our four focus areas for 2015-2017 challenges SERC Dave Baldwin to “offer an array of proven solutions to preserve, enhance SERC-NAHRO President and expand affordable housing in our communities.” Part of this challenge is to understand that, while we may share a common purpose, our membership includes agencies of different sizes and capacities that exist in a diversity of local cultural, political and economic environments. We are the same…but different. Recognizing this reality, one of our initiatives has been to establish the Small Agency Task Force, an ad hoc committee to provide additional focus and consideration of the needs, concerns and experiences of small agencies in our membership. With over 20 members representing each of the 10 states in our region, the SATF committee has set an aggressive agenda for itself. A shining example of the SATF committee’s passion is the Small Agency Forum that was premiered at the 2016 Annual Conference in Biloxi in June. This new session track speaks directly to the focus area mentioned above, providing training content that targets our smaller agencies, which is 70% of our membership! In Biloxi the Small Agency Forum included John Bohm, interim NAHRO CEO; Sharon Carlson, chair of the NAHRO SATF committee; Nancy Walker, PHADA president; Tim Kaiser, PHADA executive director; Leo Dauwer, Dauwer & Associates – heavy hitters, every one – speaking directly about issues that concern smaller agencies. You will see this effort to address the needs of small agencies continue as we move forward. And here’s a sneak preview of a different kind of proven solution that can enhance affordable housing in our communities. Did you know that…? • Sixty-one percent (61%) of low-income children have no children’s books at home. • Poor children hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. • Low-income students lose an average of more than two months in reading achievement in the summer, while their middle-income peers tend to make gains in reading. • By the end of fifth grade, disadvantaged children are nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading. The confluence of housing and low-income families offers affordable housing agencies a unique opportunity to fundamentally impact the future of low-income youth. We will have a special session at our Asheville conference in November: “Housing + GradeLevel Reading = Success in School and in Life.” Come hear what your peers are doing to help youth in assisted housing achieve grade-level reading. Everyone needs and deserves a place to call home - our common mission achieved through a host of local solutions. Never forget that our work is important; we impact people’s lives every day! Dave Baldwin, SERC President


Back to School Checklist: Reading Math Language Science

Homework with family!

The confluence of housing and low-income families offers affordable housing agencies a unique opportunity to fundamentally impact the future of low-income youth. We will have a special session at our Asheville conference in November: “Housing + Grade-Level Reading = Success in School and in Life.” Come hear what your peers are doing to help youth in assisted housing achieve gradelevel reading.

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 City of Richmond Section 8 Housing PO Box 250 Richmond, KY 40476 Phone: (859) 623-4246 Fax: (859) 623-2276 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 David L. Smotherman GA Don Clemons

Johnny Johnson

John Austin (Chair)


SERC COMMITTEE MEETINGS I ANNUAL CONFERENCE Housing Budget Policy Advisory Scholarships

Education & Training History & Archives CR & D Admin Practices Resolutions Youth Leadership

Site Selection Nominating Public Affairs Emerging Leaders

Small Agency Task Force Internet, Research & Global Exchange Professional Development

“Helping solve the housing puzzle through communication, dedication and teamwork.” Executive meeting


NAHRO l PHADA l SERC Leadership team meets with Representative Palazzo

Representatives from NAHRO, PHADA and SERC-NAHRO met with Representative Steven Palazzo at the SERC Conference in Biloxi, MS to discuss small housing reform legislation (the Congressman is the sponsor ot H.R. 4816) and other matters. Left to right: David Baldwin, Tim Kaiser, Alice McCaffrey, Mike Sweet, Alan Ingram, Steve Merritt, Rep. Steven Palazzo Michael Wong Judy Mellard, Nancy Walker, John Bohm, Laura Lee Burkett and Rusty Walker.




Housing Professionals Servicing the State


OPP— A very special day of fun for fathers and children

Opp Housing Authority celebrated its fifth Annual Celebration of Fathers and Children in an effort to help fathers and their families build and keep strong relationships. Fathers were encouraged to accompany a child to the no-cost celebration. Mizell Memorial Hospital provided health screenings, and the MAO Clinics out of Dothan and Montgomery provided health awareness information. Educational information was furnished by LBW College and Covington County Health Department. Water slides, face painting, and music by Jimmy Culbreath entertained the guests. Male mentors from the community assisted with the event. A picnic-style meal was served, and many outdoor games were played. There was a free concert by Gospel Rapper NUMIND. The event took place on June 11 at the Opp Housing Authority. Event sponsors were SRJ Architects, John and Maggie Bartholomew, CCB Bank, Southeast Alabama Gas District, Larry’s Prescriptions, Catrett Construction, Bowdoin Pest Control, Virgil K, and Publix.

FAIRFIELD—Fairfield fathers receive early father’s day gift for future

Alabama career center booth for jobs and training.

The city of Fairfield is in economic crisis, but the Fairfield Housing Authority is working to keep residents afloat. Recently the organization provided residents with information at a meeting, calling it an early Father’s Day present. The goal is to help strengthen and empower families. “We are promoting family self-sufficiency by having them come together and encouraging them to find jobs,” said the housing authority’s executive director Shannon Eady. Guests at the event shared information on jobs and money saving techniques, and they promoted community unification. It’s something Fairfield resident and father Isaiah Armstrong says is crucial to restore the city to what it was when his grandfather took root, decades ago. “HUD is coming in and planting good seeds right now. We’re not seeing anything yet, but the soil is very fertile right now,” he said, “We’re on shaky ground, but at the same time we’re getting deeply rooted, and we’re going to sprout back up. It’s going to be fair in Fairfield,” continued Armstrong, “ It’s kind of like a battlefield now—changing around, it’s not always fair. We are the home of the forgotten, but these people are not forgotten because they have organizations like HUD.”

Drawing for free gifts by participating youth.

Fairfield Police and Fire Departments conduct seminars for resident fathers.

Left to right: Deon Wright, new Fairfield Police Chief Nick Dyers, Christian artist and preacher.




Carolinas Council of Housing Redevelopment & Codes Officials

HICKORY—From “Darkness 2 Light”

STATESVILLE—Community funds new transitional housing for veterans By David Whisenant, WBTV Reporter Reprinted from WBTV.


My mother always said, “What’s done in the dark, will always come to light”. I’m sure many of you have heard this before… and I used to think, ’what is she talking about’? However, as I have grown up I have learned the true meaning of this statement. The maltreatment or abuse of children continues to be one of those issues that is shrouded in darkness and secrecy, but is one that must come to light…to be talked about more…to be reported more… in order to keep our children safe. Hickory Public Housing partnered with the Children’s Protection Council of Catawba County on June 22 and June 28 to present the “Darkness 2 Light” program to parents . It was hoped that in speaking openly and honestly about this serious issue, we could assist parents and other community stakeholders to be more comfortable in reporting cases of suspected abuse so that perpetrators are stopped, and children can be safe in their own environments. The Darkness 2 Light program presented an interactive session in which a trained facilitator assisted parents in identifying potential signs that something may have happened to their child. Parents were taught to notice changes in behaviors and be prepared to speak candidly, but with empathy, to their child(ren) about what happened, so that the harmful behavior could cease and the healing process could begin, moving the child forward to a more bright and positive future. One of the parents in the group shared that “this was the best program I’ve ever attended. It really spoke to me and gave the group an opportunity to learn how to help the children who are in our care.” The program was offered to all parents in each of the five housing communities. This is one of several collaborative efforts the A group of parents watch a video of some of the stories presented during the Hickory Public Housing Authority has undertaken to arm parents with skills and tools to help protect their families and to improve communication among its members. Darkness 2 Light training.

old vans in the Walmart parking lot; there A grand opening and dedication cerwere some at exit 42 that I was able to emony was held in Statesville on Tuesday bring to the soup kitchen—and I said boy for a new transitional housing project near we’re going to do this,” Meletis said. “Even the 7th Street Park. if we can save and rehabilitate one vetOrganizers say that this is one of the eran, it’s worth it, and I’ve been given the only such projects in North Carolina that is privilege and the honor to serve and let totally funded by the community. the glory be to God. Our job is to rehabiliThe house was donated to the effort by tate those young men, and to bring them Williard Bowers and his wife. back where we can get them a home, “My mom bought the house in 1954, make them become taxpayers again passed away in 2002, I wound up with The Statesville Housing Authority donated this bring them back, that’s the least that we the house and did some renovations, and house on 1208 Wilson Lee Boulevard to The Piedmont Veteran’s Assistance Council. The house can do.” I decided to donate it,” Bowers said. “I For over 26 years, Diakonos (Fifth Street knew that there were a lot of veterans that will become the Iredell Veterans Homeless Shelter. Ministries) has provided shelter, food, needed a place to stay, stop in, and so clothing and many other ancillary services to those in need, that’s the reason that we did this, specifically for the veterincluding veterans. ans.” These three organizations are coming together to provide Three local organizations combined to be the driving a transitional housing program for homeless veterans. ISCEC force behind the project: has graciously provided a fully remodeled house without • The Iredell-Statesville Community Enrichment Corporation (ISCEC) a local organization working alongside Statesville Housing Authorcharge, repairs and maintenance included, for at least five ity provides options for housing, focusing on those with low or years. PVAC will provide assistance with fundraising for the limited income. operation of the program. • Piedmont Veterans Assistance Council (PVAC) has been in exisThey will also help provide transportation for veterans to tence approximately three years. In that time they have reached necessary appointments, as well as being a mentors and out to veterans needing assistance by providing meals, transporfriends when the need arises. tation, and have provided a supportive, listening ear for veterans The Veteran’s Housing Program will be a program of when needed. Diakonos, and will provide services specific to veterans in • Pete Meletis, a Korean War veteran and two time Purple Heart the house provided by ISCEC, housing six to eight veterans. recipient, works with PVAC and was one of the big proponents of this project. It is estimated that there are 25,000 veterans in Iredell “Absolutely, I saw it first hand, I found three of them at exit County, and that one in four homeless individuals is a 33 up in the woods; I found five of them sleeping in cars and veteran.

GOLDSBORO— Take me out to the ball game

What a home-run this night was! With smiling faces & abundant excitement, fathers and sons enjoyed an eventful evening under the Carolina skies. While watching the Carolina Mudcats take on the Lynchburg Hillcats, they enjoyed tasty sandwiches from Gotham’s Deli. Many of the sons expressed that they had never seen a live baseball game, and their fathers proudly had the opportunity to help make their children’s dreams come true! This night was sponsored by The Housing Authority of the City of Goldsboro as part of HUD’s national Father’s Day initiative to encourage fathers to spend time with their children. The Carolina Mudcats are a minor league baseball team located in Zebulon, NC and are affiliated with the Atlanta Braves organization.



Pinellas County partners with Ready for Life for homeless

director of the Pinellas County Housing Authority. “We sincerely appreciate the partnership that we have with PinelPinellas County and Ready for Life ribbon cutting for las County’s shelter continue to provide housing for youth. Community Development Department. It is because of that partnership that we were able to make this home available to these young people through Ready for Life. We hope to be able to provide more housing opportunities like this in the future,” Johnson said. More housing is needed for youth who have aged out. “Ready for Life would love to be able to provide a safe, stable, affordable housing for our young women and for our single moms as we have for the young men. We value this partnership tremendously and look forward to great things ahead,” Plummer said.

On any given day, Kathy Mize Plummer and her staff work to find shelter for homeless youth who have aged out of the foster care system. They encourage them to go to school, help them enroll in job training, and help them get jobs. Counseling is often needed due to childhood trauma. “Youth who have aged out of foster care have many obstacles and struggles,” said Kathy Mize Plummer, CEO of Ready for Life, Inc. “It is our goal, with the help of community partners,” she continued, “to remove barriers and provide support, encouragement and resources to assist them in self-sufficiency.” Ready for Life (RFL) is a non-profit organization that serves youth who, by celebrating their 18th birthday, have aged out of the foster care system. Most of the time these young adults have very little - if any - support system and do not realize what they need to be successful on their own. Through a partnership of Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Housing Authority and RFL, a home for young men who grew up in the foster care system and are now on their own officially opened June 23. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to positively impact the lives of these young men, allowing them to focus on their future, knowing that they have a safe place to lay their head at night,” said Debbie Johnson, executive



DAYTONA BEACH—A healthy start The Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties is a non-profit organization uniting people and resources at the local level to meet needs of pregnant women, infants, young children and their families. This is accomplished by using shared resources to manage and coordinate the services of two programs, Healthy Start and Healthy Families. Recently the Healthy Start program provided a training program to the residents of the Northwood Village Development of The Housing Authority of the City of Daytona Beach. Mrs. Maria A. Long, M. ED, consultant for Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties, agreed to facilitate a seven week training program with daily activities, followed by three additional weeks of Cafe Talk Dialogues. The program took place at the Daytona Beach Housing Development Corporation’s Neighborhood Networks Center. The course explained how to use protective factors at home to strengthen a family. Protective factors are the key - they are versatile tools to fix broken family frameworks. They can be used like fitness equipment to strengthen whatever is weak. Protective factors discussed for strengthening families included the following: 1. Parent resilience - be strong and flexible. 2. Knowledge of child development - parents needs friends. 3. Practical and concrete support in times of need - everybody needs help sometimes. 4. Knowledge of parenting - being great parents is part natural and part learned. 5. Social and emotional development of children - parents need to help their children communicate During the eighth week, awards were given to two parents who participated consistently in the training. All parents who attended walked away with a wealth of new information to apply to their lives and to share with family and friends.



Residents get their wheels The elderly services coordinator for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers is always looking for partners among community agencies to provide assistance to senior citizens for independent living. Aging in place can be difficult, especially for disadvantaged, low-income, elderly people. This is why partnerships with the proper agencies are created to help prolong our senior residents’ quality of life. Recently two elderly residents of Royal Palm Towers were honored, along with several other recipients, at the Rotary International 2016 District Conference. The banquet held at the Sanibel Harbor Marriott Resort & Spa was entitled “Community Service, Why Fellowship of the Wheel?” Mrs. Rose Wombwell and Mr. Ramon Zorrilla were presented wheelchairs at the banquet. These two residents were invited by Revered Suarez of the Nations Association. On May 13 at approximately 4 p.m., Nations Association provided transportation to ensure that Rose and Ramon arrived at the banquet to enjoy the scrumptious meal prepared for all attendees. During the Rotary International program, they honored several individuals needing wheelchairs. Ramon and Rose were so excited to receive new wheelchairs and take pleasure in being the two recipients selected from HACFM. Left to right is Ramon Zorrilla, Reverend Suarez, and Rose Wombwell



CAIRO— Fathers’ Day at the Cairo Housing Authority

and fellowship. Approximately 50 individuals Five years ago, the United States Departattended the celebration. This included 15 ment of Housing & Urban Development fathers, 22 kids and their mothers. The Grady (HUD) started its Fathers’ Day Initiative for County Health Department participated by the residents of public housing across the providing valuable health screenings. The nation. The initiative was developed based Cairo Fire Department educated the youth on socio-economic data which reflected concerning fire safety. The Georgia Departthe negative impact inflicted upon children ment of Labor provided literature concerngrowing up in homes with the absence of ing the Work Force Investment Opportunity a father. Locally, the Housing Authority of Program and job searching. Several of the the City of Cairo (HACC) recently sponsored fathers provided encouraging words to the a Fathers’ Day event for its public housing audience. Each participating father was residents as it has done in the past. The Family photo of Joshua Jones, Morgan provided with a gift bag containing a numevent was held at the O. R. Williford ComMillis, Kelly Myrick (Mother), and ber of daily-use personal items and other munity Center. Where a biological father Fondren L. Williams (Grandfather). resources. The HACC thanks the fathers and was absent, others assumed the role and residents for their participation, as well as participated in the event. This included the local merchants and presenters who contributed to the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, older male siblings and male event. Rosa Demps is the resident development specialist role models from the community. The families enjoyed fun activities, games, door prizes, music, food, face painting, and Dr. John H. Marria is the agency’s executive director.

AUGUSTA— Mini library created

For the past 20 years Chuck William, a physical education teacher at Garrett Elementary School, has worked with the children and families residing in Olmstead Homes. The movie “Unconditional,” based on a true story about a Nashville man named “Papa” Joe Bradford, provided the inspiration for Chuck to make viable contributions to this housing community. He wanted to create a library with free books, no strings attached, for everyone to read and enjoy. After meeting with Reta Thomas, Augusta’s resident services coordinator, Chuck’s inspiration became the motivation, and three weeks later the desire became a reality. The solicitation of books and shelving proved to be very fruitful with over 2, 000 books and enough shelving to cover the 33 feet of wall space being donated. The conversion of the oversized storage closet in the community center turned out to be a labor of love upon seeing the excitement of the children and residents.

GAHRA—Awards and scholarships The Georgia Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authority (GAHRA) announced the winners of its scholarship program for post-secondary educational support on May 16 at their annual spring conference in Macon, Georgia. The committee awarded a total of $37,500 to deserving scholars. The Adult Scholarship Program, now in its eleventh year, awarded $12,000 to seven dedicated adult students. Three vocational/technical scholarships were awarded to students from the Augusta, East Point and Douglas Housing Authorities. Four academic scholarships were awarded to students from the Albany, Statesboro, Marietta and Thomaston Housing Authorities. GAHRA continued its long tradition of recognizing exceptional high school seniors by granting thirteen students a total of $25,500 in scholarships. Of this total, SERC-NAHRO contributes $2,500 annually. The two students receiving vocational/technical awards represented the Tifton and Dublin Housing Authorities. Eleven academic awards were made to students representing Gainesville, Dublin, Tifton, Lavonia, Bowdon, Americus, Atlanta, Decatur,


Pictured below left to right are Ed Jennings, HUD Southeast regional administrator; Brenda Smith, executive director of the Dublin Housing Authority; Kiera Williams, student from the Dublin Housing Authority; Ann Dobson, GAHRA scholarship committee chairperson and Angie Strickland, GAHRA president.



LEXINGTON—Centre Meadows celebration On Monday June 6 the Lexington Housing Authority’s Executive Director Austin Simms, board of commissioners and staff were joined by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray as well as national and local affordable housing agency representatives at 1317 Centre Parkway in southeast Lexington. They welcomed Lourdes Castro Ramirez, principal deputy assistant secretary, Office of Public and Indian Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as they celebrated the successful transformation of Centre Meadows. Formerly Pimlico Apartments, Centre Meadows is one of HUD’s first transactions involving its Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). This site is comprised of 11 buildings and houses 206 apartments. Assistant Secretary Ramirez welcomed the group and shared, “On behalf of HUD and Secretary Castro, I commend you for your vision, your tenacity, your dedication and for creating a community that is worthy of the families that you are serving.”

Centre Meadows has been transformed from the former Pimlico Apartments on Centre Parkway to the beautiful development of 11 buildings and 206 apartments.

According to Austin Simms, “Our community does an excellent job of working together to make affordable developments work. The Lexington Housing Authority (LHA) strives to be aggressive and creative in preserving the affordable housing stock we now have as well as increasing the stock whenever opportunities afford themselves. We are most excited about the Centre Meadows transformation and the significant effects it will have on the Lexington affordable housing community.” The LHA has welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Red Capital Markets, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, and Kentucky Housing Corporation on this $30+ million renovation project.

Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Austin Simms and Mayor Jim Gray.

During the ceremony Ms. Morgan McCutchen, the first resident to be housed in the newly renovated Centre Meadows, shared with the group, “I like the fact that I don’t fit the stigma of the people that supposedly apply for public housing. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to raise my four year old daughter in a facility where I feel comfortable letting her play outside, letting her get to know the other kids, and then I’m close enough to campus that I can get those rip and runs and do everything I need to do. I’m thankful for everyone that had their hand in this, and I think there are enough people like me to make this happen.” Residents Morgan McCutchen and Dyana Dillard with Lourdes Castro Ramirez (center)


MISSISSIPPI l NEWS COLUMBUS—SUPERDAD! desire to help yield positive life changes. Mr. Edwards contacted Columbus Housing Authority Executive Director Debra Taylor and inquired of ways he could be assist in improving the lives of housing authority residents. After numerous planning sessions, a partnership between J5 and the Columbus Housing Authority was formed along with the emergence of various programs, one of which furthered the housing authority’s fatherhood initiative. To promote its annual fatherhood initiative, Columbus Housing Authority partnered with J5’s GBL, LLC to host Super Dad Super Day. Event festivities were designed to provide housing authority youth a chance to enjoy games, food, entertainment and more while interacting with positive male role models or “Super Dads”. The event was geared toward children bringing a male counterpart to enjoy a fun-filled day participating in the event with them. However, for the ones who didn’t have a male counterpart to invite, J5 GBL, LLC male employees and other males from the community were there to fill the void! The event concluded with a large indoor picnic for which J5 covered all financial expenses and served all of the participants. This event was held at the Columbus Housing Authority’s Martin Luther King Community Center in Columbus, MS on June 30.


As a child growing up, J5 owner Jabari Edwards was exposed to the housing authority’s youth residents through partnerships his father Joe Edwards and Columbus Housing Authority Human Resource Manager Evelyn Morris (both deceased) had underway. While accompanying his father to various housing authority programs, he was amazed at how the people were empowered and touched by the kind acts and deeds his father exhibited; consequently, he developed a passion to serve others. Upon his father’s death, he made a promise to himself that he would keep his father’s efforts alive by doing all he can to help others. To continue his promise and give hope to others, he served two terms as a commissioner of Columbus Housing Authority. After becoming a successful entrepreneur and witnessing the challenges housing authority tenants face on a daily basis, his passion to serve housing authority residents increased along with the

LAUREL— Alpha Kappa Alpha ladies present ideas on true beauty The Kuntry Kidz, Inc., a statewide nonprofit, along with the Ladies of Pink & Green- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA, Inc.)-Hattiesburg, Mississippi Chapter - teamed up with the Laurel Housing Authority to conduct its’ signature workshop “Cupcakes and Conversation” for young ladies 12 years of age and up. On Saturday, March 12 at 50 Brown Circle Community Center approximately 20 young ladies attended their first session to discuss Inner Beauty vs. Outer Beauty. Kuntry Kidz provides positive exposure, inspiration, and encouragement to youth while offering them tools that empower them to succeed in school, career and life. Each youth received a gift bag containing personal hygiene products and a special gift for their participation. The event ended with delicious cupcakes being served. Pictured are the youth of the Laurel Housing Authority and surrounding community with Elisha Barnes-Booth, founder & CEO of Kuntry Kidz, and the ladies of AKA’s Hattiesbur g, MS Chapter who served as workshop facilitators.


WINONA— Summer Fun Times!

Winona Housing Authority recently held Summer Fun Times for children residing at Winona Housing Authority. Those attending enjoyed fun activities including art, games, hula-a-hoop contest, bingo and refreshments. Art made by the children is now on display in Winona Housing Authority office. Attending one of the Summer Fun Times are as pictured — Front Row, L to R: Amariona Newman, Jasmine Johnson, Janna Daniels; Back Row, L to R: Tyshawn Love, Gabrielle Robinson, Omarion Daniels, Makiyah Gholston, JaKayla Kennedy, Shakel Petty; Not Pictured: Tymarion Blissett



Groundbreaking at Keystone Development


Keystone Deelopment, Inc. moved one step closer to providing affordable housing for former foster children and homeless veterans by recently breaking ground on a new apartment complex in Johnson City. Located in the King Springs area, the two-phase project will provide 24 supportive housing units for both individuals and families. The initial phase of construction will use a $500,000 Housing Trust Fund grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) to build units designated for teens aging out of foster care and veterans battling homelessness. The THDA grant will be matched by funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Bank of Tennessee and the Johnson City Housing Authority. THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said the project is aligned closely with THDA’s efforts to provide more housing opportunities for teenagers leaving the foster care system. “When teenagers leave foster care, we find that many times the difference between them being successful or not is having access to safe, affordable housing,” said Perrey. The project is the one of three similar projects in the state that have received grant funding from THDA. The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) was created by the THDA board of directors to provide financial support for innovative, affordable initiatives that serve the housing needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents.

Mindy Bowman, Youth Villages; Johnson City Mayor Clayton Stout; Jill Salyers, Sen. Bob Corker’s Office; Natalie Seabolt, TN Dept. of Children’s Services; Todd Berry, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Keystone Development, Inc. President Richard McClain; Stephen Dixon, Bank of Tennessee; Katie Moore, Tennessee Housing Development Agency; and Thomas Burleson, Chairman, Johnson City Housing Authority.


Ground breaking at The Residence at Five Points KCDC held a ceremony to break ground for The Residences at Five Points on May 11. In spite of the forecast of 100% chance of rain and possible hail, a huge crowd including city and county officials, Red Stone Equity Investors, HUD officials, and a host of community and neighborhood members were in attendance to support this major step in The Five Points Master Plan. The project is the implementation of Phase 1 of the Five Points Master Plan, which was developed through many meetings and with community input to replace the outdated public housing properties, Walter P. Taylor Homes and Dr. Lee L. Williams Senior Complex, with new affordable housing. The Residences at Five Points will consist of three stories and will feature 84 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units. The property will include two elevators, and community space including a meeting room, computer stations and on site laundry facilities. The site also will offer green space with a picnic pavilion. Revitalization of the Five Points neighborhood is one of several projects identified in KCDC’s strategic plan as necessary to improve public housing units in the area. The total master plan is estimated to take up to four new construction phases to complete.

Left to Right: THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey, VP Redevelopment/Legal Services Brad Peters, Executive Director Art Cate, Senior VP Housing Sean Gilbert, VP Development/ Strategic Planning Joyce Floyd and Redstone Equity Partners’ representatives Lauren Henry and Darren Swanson.

GALLATIN—Grand reopening of Ridgeview “In Middle Tennessee more and more people are looking for rental housing, and we’re already facing an alarming shortage of affordable rental housing as it is,” said THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey. “It’s never been more important for investors, developers, and policy makers to understand how the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is used to build and restore affordable rental units so that we can have a healthy balance of rental properties for all incomes within our communities.” LIHTC is a federal program administered in Tennessee by THDA to incentivize the private sector to build and maintain affordable rental housing.

Elected officials and community leaders joined the Gallatin Housing Authority today for the grand reopening of Ridgeview Apartments. This renovation was funded in part by more than $3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) proceeds. Ridgeview Apartments is the first mixed financing development project undertaken by GHA, which has been promoting affordable housing since 1952. In addition to the LIHTC funding administered by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), this project was financed by Boston Financial Investment Management and Reliant Bank. The unit is comprised of 38 duplex units in19 buildings that vary in size from one to four bedrooms. The development also features four units with accessibility features for persons with disabilities, a new playground, and a community computer room. In addition, GHA operates nearly 500 housing units in Gallatin, Carthage, and South Carthage.



RHA offers career growth opportunities to its own youth


The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is entering its fourth summer hosting over forty high school students for its Summer Youth Beautification Intern Program. Since 2013 students, who are also residents of the housing authority’s properties, have been spending six weeks of their summer break developing skills that prepare them to enter the work force. The students come to work each morning and receive a free breakfast through the Alexandria City Public Schools lunch program, and are then sent in teams to different developments to improve the properties by picking up trash and planting trees and flowers. Some are as young as fourteen, but are held to the same standards as any full-time employee, if not higher. They are sent home if they come to work late or inappropriately dressed, and they receive a paycheck every two weeks which they may spend as they please, but are encouraged to save. The program began as a result of a discussion between ARHA and the Alexandria Department of Parks and Recreation about how to engage youth living on ARHA properties in summer jobs. ARHA began a partnership with JobLink, the City’s employment office, which was able to set aside slots for residents looking for summer work. The program serves as a job-readiness and education training program, but also gives each teenager the opportunity for personal growth. By the end of the six-week program, they develop a deeper sense of responsibility and accountability. One parent raved that her son now got up each morning without her help, a significant feat any parent with a high-school student would admire. The program includes guest speakers from inside and outside the housing authority and field trips, such as to the local court house and various corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C., so that the students are exposed to different career paths. Mr. Roy Priest, the executive director of ARHA and strong supporter of initiatives for youth, says the benefits of the program are two-fold, “they get job experience and resume content that they would not have otherwise, earn a salary to support their school expenses, and also provide a benefit to the agency [by keeping its properties clean and beautiful.”

VAHCDO—Delegation makes visits to Washington, D.C.

Between February and June, members of the Virginia Association of Housing and Community Development Officials (VAHCDO) made multiple visits to their legislators in Washington, D.C. to advocate for affordable housing issues. An initial trip in February had the group visiting with staff for both Virginia senators as well as staff for five congressmen from throughout the Commonwealth as they did a reconnaissance type visit to produce a template for the “Gang of 13.” NAHRO staff assisted in organizing the meetings and preparing the group to discuss HOTMA (HR 3700), tax credits, SHARP (S 2292 and HR 4816), and various local needs. Follow-up visits were held during the NAHRO Washington Conference and again in early June. Each visit strengthens the relationships they have built, and continue to build, with their representatives.

NORFOLK—NRHA awards $37,000 in scholarships On May 24, the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority held its annual scholarship banquet at the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News. Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan addressed the students. The authority’s scholarship program began in 1980 with a $1,000 authority-funded scholarship. This year 39 corporate and individual sponsors contributed over $37,000 to provide

scholarships to 14 recipients. Scholarship recipients must be residents of public housing or participants in the Housing Choice Voucher program. While the majority of those receiving scholarships are graduating high school seniors, students already enrolled in a post secondary education program and some adults choosing to further their educations also received scholarships. Karen Wilds, executive director of the authority said, “We are very indebted to all the individuals and businesses supporting our residents; the banquet gave us all an opportunity to show how proud we are of these students who have worked so hard.” Students receiving scholarships from the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority: Z. Maldonado; J. Bennafield-Franklin; R. Clements; K. Robinson; S. Estell; D. Scott; P. Mayo; D. Douglas; K. Stephenson; L. Farmer; Q. Henderson; C. Amado; L. Baldwin; N.Vines; G. Morgan, sheriff and K. Wilds, executive director NNRHA




Kanawha County, West Virginia is a very fortunate community. There are so many service providers and resources available to assist those needing help to meet their goals. To the new client services team at Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority, this was a relief to discover. However, as we met with provider after provider and began attending committee meetings, it became clear that there was such an abundance of caring people that many were not aware that so many others existed. It was determined that there was a need for a way for these providers to network easily with one another. Simultaneously, the Kanawha Valley Collective (KVC), who is a collaborative network dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness, had determined that the larger community as a whole did not realize the extent of the services available to the homeless population in the area. One possible outcome of this is that providers could begin losing funding if not enough people took advantage of the services they offer; this would likely mean that needed organizations would not remain in the community. Additionally, as grant and other funding becomes available, it is important that they go to the real needs of the community rather than result in an unnecessary duplication of services. Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority, in conjunction with the KVC, decided to hold a networking event that would allow service providers a chance to connect with one another and make new contacts needed to better serve their clients. Additionally, it would provide people in the community a chance to see what resources are available and how to contact the appropriate agency when needs arise. The Community Provider Fair was held at the Switzer Center at Orchard Manor April 7. There were 44 total service providers involved, and over 112 individuals attended. It generated many opportunities for networking and opened a dialogue on what additional services would be beneficial for the community.

South Park Village celebrates women Balloons fluttered in the wind outside the doors of the community room, and talking and laughter could be heard upon stepping inside of South Park Village on May 2. Activities geared toward families have been few and far between lately at this 80-unit public housing development. While many families are a part of this community, there is currently no resident council to coordinate events, and it had been awhile since a service coordinator funded under the ROSS program was in place to focus on these families. The “Celebrating Women” event was one of the larger events planned for South Park Village in 2016 and was a success with 28 in attendance. This event was planned to foster a sense of community and to give families a chance to enjoy themselves, especially the women of the community as Mother’s Day neared. Additionally, it was an opportunity for families to have positive interactions with Serena Joslin, the new family service coordinator, and to feel more comfortable in approaching her to discuss their needs. Attendees enjoyed selecting items from donated clothing, footwear, toys, books and handbag items. Refreshments were served, and there were pantry foods available to take home. In addition to CKHA staff, Trivillian’s Pharmacy also attended and gave out gift bags with nail care products. Donations were also made from other businesses in the community including Carver Beauty Academy, Carla from Creative Hair Design and Day Spa and West Virginia University Extension Service. A drawing was held to determine winners of these special items.


WVAHA—2016 Scholarships

The West Virginia Association of Housing Agencies added four new $1,000 scholarships at the spring workshop at Bridgeport, WV on April 20. The 2016 scholarships were awarded as follows: Kasonja Hill—Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority Mark E. Taylor, chief executive officer College: University of Charleston, Charleston, WV Major: biochemistry Scholarship: SERC/NAHRO Hill, a graduate of Capitol High School, Charleston, West Virginia, was selected to receive a SERC/NAHRO scholarship. Kasonja is the recipient of a scholarship from the University Charleston. She was chosen to be a speaker at the baccalaureate ceremony, received second place in psychology at S.C.O.R.E.S. with Marshall University, is an advanced placement (AP) scholar, and has assisted in community service projects hosted by the National Honor Society. Kasonja plans to pursue a career as a biochemist.

Jacob Nuzum—Fairmont-Morgantown HA John Martys, executive director College: West Virginia University Major: journalism Scholarship: Russell Bibbee

Nuzum, a graduate of Fairmont High School, Fairmont, WV, was selected to receive the Russell Bibbee Memorial Scholarship. Jacob is the recipient of the Promise and Vandalia Scholarship. His major achievements consisted of Boys State Graduate 2015, state runner up in the high jump, the 2015 student of the quarter, and volunteered with youth sporting events. Jacob plans to pursue a career in media relations.

Dijon Stokes—Charleston-Kanawha HA Mark E. Taylor, chief executive officer College: Howard University, Washington, D.C. Major: political science Scholarship: Russell Bibbee

Stokes, a graduate of Capitol High School, Charleston, West Virginia, was selected to receive the Russell Bibbee Scholarship. He was inducted into the National Honor Society, a team member on the Capitol High State Championship football team, and has spent time volunteering with Day of Caring and Mountain Mission. Dijon plans to pursue a career as a corporate lawyer.

Marcus Winston—Charleston-Kanawha HA Mark E. Taylor, chief executive officer College: West Virginia State University Major: music education Scholarship: Manuel C. Cartelle

Winston, a graduate of Capitol High School, Charleston, West Virginia, was selected to receive the Manuel C. Cartelle Scholarship. He was field commander for the Pride of Capitol High Marching Band, volunteered for band fundraisers and various other community events. Marcus plans to pursue a career as a music director with a college.

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201 6 l SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference MAHRO President Dave Baldwin welcomes members to the conference.

Helping solve the housing puzzle SERC members from around the southeast gath-

Palazzo who was presented with SERC’s 2016

ered for the 2016 SERC-NAHRO Annual Confer-

Legislator of the Year Award for his introduction

ence in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Beau Rivage

of the SHARP bill (H.R. 4816) to the House of Rep-

Resort and Casino. There were many activities


and beautiful gulf views to enjoy, but the many

MAHRO President Judy Mellard graciously

events provided at the conference left little time

welcomed members to the state of Mississippi,

to venture out too far.

followed by Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich who

The opening session was one of the best, with

enlightened the group with Biloxi history and

speakers ranging from NAHRO President Steve

suggestions for not-to-miss post Katrina attrac-

Merritt, Ed Jennings, HUD southeast regional

tions of the area.

administrator, and U.S. Congressman Steven

continued on next page


SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference I Opening Session I 2016 Attendees were treated to a rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” by Wings, a performing arts group from The Discovery Center for Children in Biloxi. SERC put together some of the best known trainers in the industry to provide sessions on topics such as “Financial Training for Non-Financial Managers,” “Housing Choice Voucher Updates,” “Employment Law”, and the hottest new topic of discussion, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” A new session “Small Agency Forum” was introduced to present issues and solutions particular to smaller agencies. Of course there were sessions available to commissioners, as well continued on next page

SERC presented Congressman Steven Palazzo with the “Legislator of the Year” award for his work supporting small housing authorities. He was the original sponsor of the bill H.R. 4816, aka—SHARP.

SERCulator Newsletter of the year was presented to CCHRCO.


SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference I Sessions I 2016 as public housing and program updates. The state basket raffle has become a tradition at our meetings, and is always a big hit! Tickets are purchased by members with all proceeds going directly for scholarships to further the education of young public housing residents. Eight states provided gift items including handmade pottery, beach chairs and just plain ole cash!! Children’s posters from all around the region were displayed for the “What Home Means to Me” poster contest. The designs depicted the importance of having a stable home to a child. Each state submits their best, and the state winners are judged at the convention in categories of elementary, middle school and high school. First, second and third place prizes are awarded in each category. A change in this year’s agenda was replacing the continued on next page


SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference I Registration I 2016 President’s Reception with tickets for everyone to attend the Beau Rivage’s featured show “BraVeau”. This theatrical circus sensation featured outlandish characters, clowns and fanciful creatures, and showcased skilled performers who brought daring feats of artistic beauty to the stage. It certainly thrilled the audience. A special “thank you” is extended to our exhibitors. They provide information vital to the housing industry. The receptions always give members and vendors an opportunity to discuss changing trends and preview the latest items on the market. We also offer a very special thanks to the annual conference committee, chaired by continued on next page


SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference I Hospitality I 2016

Shannon Biggs, and including Donna Lamer, program chairperson; Connie Howard, exhibits chairperson; Jake Oglesby and Angie Strickland, registration coordinators; and Judy Mellard, coordinator of opening ceremonies.


SERC-NAHRO Annual Conference I Mississippi Host I 2016

Judy Mellard, MAHRO president, Kaye Judson and Bob Farrar had the members anticipating the drawings for Mississippi-made door prizes. Mississippi hosted the 2016 conference with magnolia hospitality.


Scholarship State Basket Winners

SERC is thankful to the SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE, Madelyn Dotson, Johnny Black, Sonia Meridith and staff for organizing and gathering tickets for the drawings from all of our state representatives. This is by far one of the most popular events at the conference. Participants purchase tickets that sell for $10 one and $20 for two arm lengths. Members purchased as many as they liked. Lucky winners take home prize baskets containing the prize basket that contain hand-made state goodies as well as gift cards donated from local businesses. The basket drawing generate thousands of dollars that go to scholarships for college-bound public housing residents. Florida Basket Heather Dugas Fort Walton Beach, FL

Mississippi Basket Joyce Floyd Knoxville, KY

Georgia Basket Patricia Allen Thomaston, GA

North Carolina Basket Mary Windell Fort Mill, SC

Kentucky Basket Angela Childers Beaufort, SC

South Carolina Basket Janiqueal Armstrong Winter Haven, FL

Virginia Basket Donna Lamer Sumter, SC

Tennessee Basket Winston Henning Jackson, TN

Congrats Winners! 24

West Virginia Basket Janet Davis Claxton, GA

SERC-NAHRO Poster Contest—2016

2rd Place Elementary—Laila Dayib/Decatur, GA

2nd Place Middle School—Chase Johnson/Floyd Co.,KY

2nd Place High School—Aunquarius Brown/Albany, GA

The ‘What home means to me” poster contest is an annual competition for our young housing authority residents that asks them to artistically describe why having a home is important. Every housing authority is encouraged to participate. The entries are sent to the state associations where first, second and third place winners are selected in each of three categories – elementary, middle school and high school. The state winners are then submitted to the regional associations. SERC awards prizes in each category - $100 for first place; $75 for second; $50 for third. First place winners in each category are sent to NAHRO where twelve winners are selected to have their art featured on the ‘What home means to me’ calendar. A grand prize winner is also selected who receives a gift card and a trip to the NAHRO Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in October.

3rd place Elementary—Janyah Hill/Danville, VA

3rd place Middle School—Kyla Stinson/Montgomery, AL


3rd place High School—Tatyana Blakely/Greensboro, NC


Victory! The public housing industry finally received some news out of Washington, D.C. that it can celebrate. On Friday, July 15, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (HOTMA) passed in the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote. Based Mike Sweet on the assumption that the President will sign the bill, HOTMA will provide modest revisions to the Section 8 and Conventional Public Housing programs. Please make sure that you thank your senators for their support of HOTMA. We can certainly count passage of HOTMA as a mark in the win column for our industry. However, there is still much left to do on the legislative front. The Small Public Housing Agency Opportunity Act, also known as SHARP, has been introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 4816) and the Senate (S. 2292). The Small Housing Authority reform bill will provide significant relief to PHAs under 550 units. Both House and Senate bills appear to be gaining support. On April 19, Senator Maria Cantwell introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 2962) in the U.S. Senate. Senator Cantwell’s legislation would make the 4% tax credit program permanent and would expand the program by 50%. On April 29, Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced the Moving to Work Reform and Expansion Act (H.R. 5137) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman McCarthy’s legislation would expand the MTW program to include availability to small housing authorities.

The congressman is aggressively seeking our support for H.R. 5137. I don’t think that I can remember any other time during my 25 years in the housing industry when we have had so much legislative activity related to our programs. The good news is that Congress appears to finally be paying some attention to us. The bad news is that our programs are so overregulated that many of us don’t have the time to spend on legislative efforts. NAHRO is gearing up for an August recess advocacy plan, which is modeled after last year’s successful campaign of action alerts. NAHRO will be launching a new action alert each week in August on a designated topic. The schedule is outlined for August is as follows: • Week 1 (August 1-5): Operating Fund • Week 2 (August 8-12): SHARP • Week 3 (August 15-19): LIHTC • Week 4 (August 22-26): Capital Fund • Week 5 (August 29- Sept. 2): 2017 THUD/Appropriations SERC-NAHRO/NAHRO wants to make it as simple as possible for you to be active in the legislative efforts. The alerts posted at the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center (http://www.nahro. org/nahro-advocacy) make it easy for you to be involved and have your voice heard. Recently, NAHRO timed several commissioners as they composed messages through the Advocacy Action Center. The average time to complete a message was 45 seconds! That’s it—45 seconds could be the difference between the passage of desperately needed legislation or business as usual.


History of Labor Day copied from

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Though many states were already observing Labor Day annually, on June 28, 1894 Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

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Help students prepare for the new school year! Written by David Reeves; reprinted from

3. Start Writing

Summer is winding to a close. Before you send the kids back to school, make sure their minds are primed for another year of learning. Here are some ideas you can use in the last few weeks of summer to make sure your kids are ready to learn.

When the calendar turns to August, it’s important for kids to start writing again. Not only does this remind them about the work of writing, but it also encourages them to remember their good penmanship habits. If your child has a friend that he misses from school, consider writing a few letters before school starts. Relatives you haven’t seen in a while can be great pen pals as well. Simple creative writing exercises can feel boring to your child, but you can do a few things to make them more interesting. First, consider pulling from your daily activities. Ask your child to imagine a different outcome to something you had done that day, then write about it. Provide story prompts or work on a family journal together. Find ways to encourage creative writing so your child is ready for writing activities when school starts. When your child is writing, focus on neatness and quantity, but don’t worry too much about the spelling. Invented spelling is great for young minds, and your child’s teacher will correct any spelling gaps when school starts.

1. Get Them Reading

Reading is one of the easiest, and perhaps most important, activities for your kids to do over the summer. It’s a perfect rainy-day activity, and is great for those “I’m bored” moments. You can encourage reading by requiring it every day for short periods of time, and it may not be too late to get your kids enrolled in the local library’s summer reading program. One way to ensure that the reading is productive is to create a reading list. Get some input from the teacher, if you can, or ask the local librarian to see what your child’s reading level is and what books are good for his age and ability. Then, make a list of books to tackle. Don’t forget to read something to your child, even if he is reading independently. Reading to your child expands vocabulary and helps you explore books together. When you read together, you can check for understanding and comprehension as well.

4. Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill in summer is a great way to spend the time productively, and you still have time to teach your child something new. This may not be “book” learning, but it’s still learning and primes the brain for the coming school year. Also, because summer is filled with free time, your kids will have the benefit of extra time to work on mastering the skill before the hectic demands of school resume.

2. Get Some Math Practice

Math is one area where many kids have trouble retaining skills if it is not practiced daily. Find ways to incorporate math into daily life, by asking simple addition facts that go along with your shopping or cooking activities. However, “daily life” math practice may not be enough. Schedule time each day for math practice. If your child finds flashcards too boring, consider using a computer game or tablet-based game that encourages math practice. These can be fun while keeping the math facts in mind. If you have time to sit and play, use playing cards to play games with math facts. You can find a wealth of math card games to play, but one simple option is “go fish,” with an addition twist. Instead of having the players look for “books” of matching cards, the players should look for matches that add up to 10. Keep in mind that the face cards must be removed for this game. Lastly, to make sure that math practice happens, have a math “game night” when the entire family plays math games together.

5. Encourage Free Play

As you think about ways to prepare for the coming school year, don’t neglect the benefit of free play. Kids need it, and often don’t get enough of it during the school year. Give them ample time to relax and play in the summer. Their minds will be stimulated and their imaginations exercised more than you know. Don’t be afraid to relax alongside your kids, building a family bond that will weather even the most challenging school schedule. Whether you are looking forward to the start of the school year with great anticipation or dread, now is the time to get your children ready for success. With these five strategies, your little learners will be well prepared for the coming school year.



Make Your Plans to Attend! SERC-NAHRO Fall Workshop

November 6-8, 2016 The Omni Grove Park Inn Ashville, NC




SERC member appointed to Moving to Work research advisory committee



ARHA CEO to step down after nine years Mr. Roy Priest, who has served as CEO of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) for the past nine years, has decided to step down from his position, effective the middle of FY 2017. This will complete his fifty-year career in the housing and community economic development field. In his letter, Roy Priest said “I have guided ARHA through a period of transformation in every facet from organizational reform to repositioning the agency with HUD, the city departments and agencies, and the community stakeholders, who have been significant partners in the provision of outstanding programs and services. But most of all I have laid the foundation to forge and implement a new relationship, built on mutual respect, with our residents”. The longest tenured ARHA commissioner Carter Flemming, upon learning of Roy Priest’s planned departure stated that he joined ARHA at a critical time and that they went from “boarding up to building up” since he became the CEO. During Priest’s tenure, ARHA completed the redevelopment of 621 mixed-income units that have generated $25M of residential and commercial tax revenue; creROY PRIEST. ALEXANDRIA ated a pipeline of 530 units in planning for redevelopment; completed and implemented a strategic plan; planned and implemented more than twenty community-based programs for residents; improved the overall quality and condition of ARHA properties; created resident self-sufficiency programs; secured the long-term financial stability of the agency, and developed a high performing staff. The ARHA board of commissioners plan to use the period between now and Priest’s departure date to implement a model executive transition process, complete the reorganization of the agency that commenced two months ago, and advance the redevelopment plans for five RFP sites. Mr. Priest will work with the ARHA board of commissioners during the model executive transition period to establish the standards and criteria that will guide the selection of the next CEO. This leadership change will position the agency to continue on a course to become a HUD designated “Moving to Work” agency that will be capable of competing in an increasingly volatile and challenging funding environment. Daniel Bauman, chairman of the housing authority’s board, said that the work Roy Priest has performed has made a lasting impact on the redevelopment of affordable housing in the city of Alexandria. His enthusiasm has been contagious and ARHA is a much stronger organization because of his passion and leadership. Roy will be missed dearly by his colleagues and staff.



Lourdes Castro Ramirez, principal deputy assistant secretary for public and Indian housing, recently announced that Austin Simms, executive director of the Lexington Housing Authority, has been selected as a member of public housing’s Moving to Work (MTW) research advisory committee. In 2015, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Congress directed HUD to expand MTW to include an additional 100 high-performing public housing authorities over the next seven years. Congress also called upon HUD to establish a federal research advisory committee. Mr. Simms joins 14 others on the new federal research advisory committee charged with offering independent advice to HUD on how to approach specific aspects of the sevenyear expansion of the department’s MTW demonstration as well as advice in the development of policy proposals and methods of research and evaluation. Committee members include staff and residents from existing MTW public housing authorities, professional independent researchers and research and program experts from HUD. Mr. Simms’ appointment is effective for a term of two calendar years, at the discretion of the secretary for public and Indian housing.

SERC Scholarship Golf Tournament raises over $5,500 1st 2nd

The annual SERC Scholarship Golf Tournament exceeded expectations this year as more than $5,500 was raised for scholarships. The tournament was held at Grand Bear Golf Course which was designed by the one and only Jack Nicklaus. Although the day was hot and humid, golfers enjoyed playing this beautiful golf course where scores were very low. Congratulations to our winning team with a score of 57! Team members included Brian Power, Tom Brewster, Greg Spencer, and Drew McBrayer. Second place was only one stroke behind, and team members included Dan Wright, Lemark Harris, Bill Dotson, John Martys, and Carl Ritchie. Closest to the pin winners were Drew McBrayer and Tom Brewster. Thank you to all of our hole sponsors and golfers who helped us exceed our monetary goal this year. A very special thanks to Mike Juran of HAB, Inc., provider of housing software solutions, who went over and above his sponsorship obligation by providing towels and balls for each golfer. The scholarship committee wishes to thank Mike for his generosity over the last several years. We would also like to thank several vendors for playing and sharing about their companies: Chadwell Supply, Tenmast Software, American Bath Remodeling, SharkBite, Rheem and Nan McKay & Associates. We look forward to next year’s tournament and to another opportunity to continue providing funds for scholarships for our public housing youth.


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FLOODING DEVASTATES WEST VIRGINIA Flooding in Elkview within Kanawha County, West Virginia. Full credit: West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Kanawa County, WV, photos by Lisa Zukoff

Written by Lisa Zukoff, Bill Kraft and Donna Myers for PRDesigns

were struck blows by this flood that pushed them closer to oblivion. Many organizations and individuals have provided cleaning supplies, food, water and other needed services and supplies. Madelyn Dotson, executive director of Charleston South Housing Authority and past president of SERC was moved by the response to the flooding in her home state. “There has been such an out pouring of goodwill from so many,” she said. “It is amazing! I am sure there are many housing people helping. I know a couple of my staff have volunteered.” Volunteers have come in many forms from church groups to football teams, from nearby and far away. The Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority at WVU organized drives to fill trucks with water and supplies. The New Orleans Saints, who hold training camp in White Sulphur Springs, spent the first day of camp helping to clean up the surrounding community. In Tuscaloosa, AL the University of Alabama football team made an impact of its own. Head coach Nick Saban (a Fairmont native) urged Alabama citizens to donate general necessities as well as football pads and helmets for youth whose equipment was destroyed in the disaster. A month after the flooding, residents are still recovering. The damage remains widespread. Much assistance is still needed by residents of the area. Money is needed to buy building supplies, manpower needed to make the repairs, and residents who remain without utilities still need hot meals available for them to pick up. Anyone wanting to volunteer or provide assistance may contact The United Way or The Red Cross for information on how to help. NOTE: Thank you, Lisa Zukoff, owner of Zukoff Consulting and Bill Kraft, HCV Program Manager of Greenbriar Housing Authority for greatly contributing to this article.

This summer one of our member states experienced their third deadliest flood on record. Over two dozen people died and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed when the waters rose in West Virginia. Lisa Zukoff, a housing industry training consultant, recently traveled to Clendenin, a small WV community located along the Elk River in northern Kanawha County above Charleston. She found a community devastated by the recent floods. The downtown area and nearby shopping area were all flooded. Most of the schools were severely damaged as well. Many houses have structural and water damage. Impacted families are living in campers or tents in their yards while they work on their homes. Some of the families in the area didn’t have much before, and they lost everything in the food. FEMA and other agencies were onsite to help residents apply for assistance to rebuild where possible. President Obama declared the state of West Virginia a major disaster on June 25, and within two days, over 1,000 residents were already registered for FEMA Individual Assistance. Approximately 250 FEMA representatives were deployed to assist with response and recovery. Federal flood insurance must be purchased if FEMA aid is accepted. Impacted families have expressed concern about not having the funds to pay for the flood insurance which will be required as they rebuild. Flooding devastated Greenbrier County. In White Sulphur Springs, Howard’s Creek came down in a torrential rush that tore buildings from the foundations. A fourteenyear-old was swept away in this flood. In Rainelle, the water came up as quickly, but it did not have the brute force that the smaller creeks had when a wall of water swept away everything in its path. Governor Tomblin issued a state of emergency for 44 counties and deployed 200 members of the state’s National Guard. The governor said 60 roads were closed, many of them destroyed, bridges were knocked out, and homes were burned down and washed off foundations. He said water rescue teams searched devastated areas looking for possible victims. Communities that were already dealing with the decline of chemical, coal, and lumber industries

(sources: USAToday; CNN; The Weather Channel; FEMA; Blue & Gold Sports)

Background photo released by The Weather Channel, a vehicle ends up in a stream after a heavy rain near White Sulphur Springs, WV on June 24.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton during the teams community park clean efforts before the start of their NFL football training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Wednesday, July 27. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

(Photo: Chris Dorst, The Weather Channel via AP)



SERC EVENTS I Around the region

What’s on the agenda around SERC AUGUST 2016

FAHRO Annual Convention—August 11-13 Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Orlando, FL MAHRO Annual Conference—August 17-19 Beau Rivage, Biloxi, MS CCHRCO Annual Conference 2016—August 18 - August 23 Myrtle Beach, SC, Myrtle Beach, SC AAHRA Annual Conference—August 22-24 Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Sandestin, FL


2016 SERCulator Deadlines Summer.................. April 1 Summer.................... July1 Fall................ September1 Winter..........December 1

KHA Annual Conference—September 12-14 Holiday Inn, Bowling Green, KY WVHRA Fall Annual Conference—September 13-15 Glade Summers Resort in Daniels, WV TAHRA Annual Conference—September 17-20 Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center, Kingsport, TN GAHRA Annual Conference—September 18-21 Destin, FL MAHRO Executive Retreat—September 21-23 Natchez Grand Hotel, Natchez, MS

SERCulator Copies Each SERC member receives one FREE copy of the SERCulator.

november 2016

Additional copies: $7.50 each


Discounted yearly rate: $25.00 subscription

SERC-NAHRO Fall Workshop—November 6-8 The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

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

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SERC-NAHRO Summer 2016