Monette Housing Authority receives National Merit Award

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Pictured are Saul Ramiriz, Jr., chief executive officer for National NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) Washington, D.C.; Barbara Suber, executive director of Monette Housing Authority; and Betsy Martens, national president of NAHRO and executive director Boulder Housing Partners, Boulder, Colo. (photo provided)

Monette Housing Authority has been chosen as a winner of the prestigious National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Awards of Merit for addressing the challenge of hunger that presently exists in the Buffalo Island area.

The Monette Housing Authority is geographically located in rural Northeast Arkansas and consists of two developments with a total of 48 units of low-income Public Housing. It serves the entire Buffalo Island area with a goal to provide drug free, decent, safe, and affordable housing for eligible families and all residents without discrimination. Opportunities are provided for all individuals to improve their quality of life through their many support programs and partnerships.

"NAHRO members have been leading the way with innovative solutions to address resident services, management and operations, affordable housing preservation and sustainable development, and economic revitalization in their communities," said NAHRO President Betsey Martens. "They have stepped up, taken advantage of opportunities to find new and creative ways to address local housing needs and we are proud to recognize their achievements."

Arkansas currently has over 503,000 persons living in poverty and more hungry children than any other State. In January 2011, Dr. Kima Stewart, director of education BIC School District, and Barbara Suber, Monette Housing director, formed a partnership that would address the challenge of hunger that presently exists in the Buffalo Island area. No other services were available to meet these needs, thus the BIBLE (Buffalo Island Better Life Experience) project evolved. The partnership is now providing backpack snacks each weekend for the needy children in their school, food for seniors, and others that have emergency situations.

The 2013 NAHRO Awards of Merit recognize outstanding achievement in housing and community development programs in five categories.

Administrative Innovation recognizes innovative methods in areas such as maintenance, community relations, and interagency cooperation. Program Innovation -- Affordable Housing includes special programs for homeownership, public/private partnerships, and innovative financing. Program Innovation -- Community Revitalization includes innovative use of programs in areas such as economic development, neighborhood preservation, and creative financing. Program Innovation -- Resident and Client Services includes innovative use of programs such as special activities for children, families, and the elderly, anti-drug programs, social services, and self-sufficiency. Project Design includes efforts such as new housing design, housing modernization, enduring design, and landscape design.

About NAHRO

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, established in 1933, is a membership organization of over 23,000 housing and community development agencies and professionals throughout the United States whose mission is to create affordable housing and safe, viable communities that enhance the quality of life for all Americans, especially those of low- and moderate-income. NAHRO's membership administers more than 3 million housing units for 7.6 million people.

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