The Faces of Affordable Housing
Last night, May 30, 2012, I had the opportunity to attend the fifth annual Faces of Affordable Housing Banquet fundraiser for Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic (HDC). Having worked in the affordable housing industry for almost 16 years, affordable housing has come to have a special place in my heart.
I enjoy hearing success stories about how affordable housing has made a difference in residents’ lives. Last night HDC highlighted 3 residents and how affordable housing has made a difference in their lives. One resident is a long-time resident of HDC’s Highspire School Apartments and she talked about how pleased she is that her apartment allows her a good quality of life and some extra income to be able to go out to eat and participate in activities with the other residents. A second resident highlighted is a mother with three children who has resided in HDC’s Oak Bottom Village for the past seven years. This young mother spoke about how the affordable rent allows her to pay for her children’s medical expenses. She also stressed the importance of safety and commented that the development has 3 playgrounds as well as speed bumps so there aren’t vehicles speeding through the neighborhood. The final resident highlighted last evening is a 4-year resident of HDC’s Ruoff Tower. This resident commented that she wished she’d moved there years earlier, how easy it is for her to maneuver her wheelchair through the apartment, and how the other residents are like family to her. “Meeting” these residents and having heard the stories of other residents through the years at past HDC banquets, makes me glad to be part of the affordable housing industry.
Another highlight of last night’s event was watching Bill Koons receive HDC’s “Housing Advocate of the Year” award. Bill is currently the Director of Development for Presbyterian Senior Living (PSL) and has 25 years of experience in the affordable housing industry. Bill also currently serves as a board member on four affordable housing related organizations. I have had the privilege to work closely with Bill for the past 4 years in his role at PSL and I have great respect for his knowledge of the industry and his enthusiasm for every project he works on. Bill always wants to do what is best and right for the residents and is tireless in his effort to do so. Congratulations, Bill, on well-deserved recognition!
Last night’s event was emceed by Senator Lloyd Smucker. Three additional awards were presented in addition to the previously mentioned Housing Advocate award. HDC presented the “Volunteer of the Year” award to Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling for their “Adopt-A-Property” day on which they organized local contractors and vendors to donate materials and labor to spruce up an HDC property. HDC recognized Chris Barnhart Painting as their “Vendor of the Year” for the service, attitude, quality of work, and character of Chris and his team. One of the project managers commented that Chris is willing to be flexible with last minute schedule changes to accommodate the managers’ and tenants’ schedules. HDC named Richard Ross “Employee of the Year”. Rich was nominated by a number of his peers and employees who have worked with him over the past two years as he’s coordinated HDC’s multi-family weatherization programs and the rehabilitation of Ruoff Tower.
I am already looking forward to next year’s event!
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