HUD Recognizes Program Participants at Kentucky Affordable Housing Conference

[Photo: HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Christopher Taylor, Myra Woodard, Monica Ross, Brent Baker, and HUD Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Enforcement Sara Pratt.]
HUD Kentucky Field Office Director Christopher Taylor, Myra Woodard, Monica Ross, Brent Baker, and HUD Deputy Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Enforcement Sara Pratt.
(Photo Credit: Kentucky Housing Corporation)

During the Kentucky Affordable Housing Conference in Lexington in early April, attended by housing professionals throughout the Commonwealth, Kathryn Peters, Executive Director of Kentucky Housing Corporation, presented the Mae Street Kidd Award to Kentucky's First Lady Jane Beshear and then Sara Pratt, HUD Deputy Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Enforcement and keynote speaker, presented awards to two fair housing agencies for the impacts of their wonderful work. Thereafter, the hard work and achievements of three HUD program participants were recognized by HUD Field Office Director Christopher Taylor.

The inspiring stories of these individuals touched the housing industry professionals in attendance as they saw before them people who have been helped by the programs that they administer. Monica Ross, Lexington Housing Authority Family Self-Sufficiency graduate and now homeowner, was recognized by Christopher Taylor as was Brent Baker, HUD-VASH recipient and now gainfully employed Volunteers of America social worker for veteran services.

Last, but certainly not least, was when the third award recipient, Myra Woodard, took the stage and shared her story of moving from homelessness to homeowner. Myra was homeless with her two children when she found a place to live in the public housing project formerly known Clarksdale. Clarksdale was among the first HOPE VI revitalization areas in Louisville where Myra lived with her family. When she had to be relocated, Myra was provided a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program coordinator to help her to relocate as well as with program opportunities to set and attain goals to live independently. Myra explained that she was faced with struggles, barriers, and obstacles growing up that prevented her from moving forward. She did not believe in herself, but her FSS worker believed in her and soon Myra began setting small goals toward her dreams of owning her own home, going to school, and working to help drug- and alcohol-addicted women. Myra described it like this.

"You see, all I needed was an opportunity and someone who believed in me...I just needed an opportunity and that is what you people provide those who you work with." And she took that opportunity and achieved all of her dreams. Myra is now a proud FHA homeowner, a social worker who helps drug- and alcohol-addicted women, and she will receive her Master's Degree from the University of Louisville on Mother's Day 2015.

HUD Secretary Julián Castro coined the phrase "Department of Opportunity" to describe HUD and Sara Pratt spent a portion of her keynote speech talking about the importance of opportunity for all. Myra as a HUD program recipient echoed that sentiment at the Kentucky Affordable Housing Conference.

"Kentucky Housing Corporation and our partners are committed to helping others achieve affordable housing," said KHC's Executive Director Kathryn Peters. "Innovative housing initiatives have lasting impacts for many Kentuckians like Myra, Monica, and Brent, who are in need of quality housing opportunities, and we are proud to recognize their achievements."

Thanks to all of the housing professionals in Kentucky and nationwide who give that hope and opportunity to their clients every day.


Content Archived: February 2, 2017