FREEPORT (WIFR) -- The Housing Authority of the City of Freeport [HACF] was recognized recently with a national award. NanMckay and Associates, Inc. [NMA] is the industry leader in providing performance improvement solutions including training, consulting, and products to subsidized housing agencies. NMA annually honors excellence in the affordable housing industry and individual agency performance. This year, the HACF was awarded the Pioneer in Housing Award for small agencies (those with 1249 or fewer units). This award is to recognize housing authorities that use “out of the box” thinking to improve the future of their employees, community, and industry.
Here is today’s announcement: “NMA is pleased to announce the Housing Authority of the City of Freeport as the winner of our 2012 Pioneer in Housing Award for its sustained and successful efforts to improve residents' quality of life and maintain partnerships within its community. It's a great example of what agencies can accomplish with out-of-the-box thinking.”
The award application highlighted HACF’s work in offering an array of programs, services, and trainings in the past year and ongoing fostering self-sufficiency in residents through collaborations with 19 agencies. One of questions asked how has the HACF used “out of box” thinking to improve the program. HACF’s response included: “Thinking outside the box means listening and sharing ideas, networking, and collaborating with community members and agencies to bring resources to the residents…. HACF has learned that people need a sense of achievement and moments of recognition. For any class or training, we provide a certificate and graduation to acknowledge the participant’s commitment to attend and learn. The achievement empowers residents to become inspired to pursue more goals…. HACF is persistent to sustain a high level of programming through anticipated HUD budget cuts and thus realizes funding must come from other sources. HACF applies for various grants to provide improved programming…. HACF recognizes technology and the power of social media in today’s society. Besides continuing to print and deliver memorandums, newsletters, and flyers to residents, the quickest, lease expensive way to inform is through social media. HACF posts news, events, job openings, etc. on our company website and Facebook account.”
HACF collaborates with local organizations to provide a great array of services. It is a goal to provide all services onsite to eradicate the barriers due to lack of transportation so residents may fulfill their goals. Services now provided onsite on an ongoing basis include but are not limited to GED classes in collaboration with Highland Community College, budgeting classes through NICAA, health awareness activities in conjunction with Ever Caring Home Health Care Agency, Health Care Plus and St. Joseph Provena, financial classes on bank accounts and credit management through Family Credit Management, and a teen mentoring program through Beautiful Spirited Women. Classes on the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media” and “Voting 101” have been offered at the Empowerment Center to provide additional educational opportunities to residents. Plus this year two week long career-oriented trainings have been provided to residents including the Real Estate Leasing Management Consultant Training and an Entrepreneurship Resident-Owned Small Business Training.
FHA looks forward to continuing this high level of programming in giving a hand up out of poverty instead of a hand out. Anyone with questions or to further discuss this national award, please contact Larry Williams, FHA Executive Director, at 815-232-4171 Ext 1015.