Housing Authority celebrates 45 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 26, 2007

FRANKLIN—Between 250 and 300 people attended the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s annual Thanksgiving banquet, held in honor of its seniors at the Workforce Development Center.

This year marked an extra special occasion as the authority celebrated its 45th anniversary and 11 first graduates of the new Life Skills/Job Skills program.

Four or five years ago, the agency was troubled in all aspects. A new director, Sheryl Frazier, was hired a little more than two years ago.

&uot;She and (Chairman) Kent (Pope) took the board by the hand,&uot; said Mayor Jim Councill. &uot;And now FRHA is recognized as a standing authority with no financial problems. The board deserves special recognition, especially on its 45th anniversary.&uot;

Chairman Kent Pope talked about the history of FRHA, noting it was founded and chartered in 1963.

&uot;FRHA now has 209 units for public housing and 315 Section 8 vouchers,&uot; he said.

Del. Roslyn Tyler also addressed the guests.

&uot;This is the time of year to be thankful,&uot; she said in regard to the &uot;great job&uot; FRHA is doing.

&uot;Promoting partnerships — that is what it is all about,&uot; she said. &uot;What a time for God to be proud of us because we’re serving each other.&uot;

Social entrepreneur and former Community Development Consultant Robert &uot;Bob&uot; Stephens was keynote speaker. He worked with the Clinton administration and moved to the area from the D.C. metropolitan area.

He said upon his first contact with the agency, he realized it was a small agency — one that was doing a lot with a little.

&uot;One of its key components is its high standards,&uot; he said, and that the employees are &uot;serious&uot; about services being &uot;top-notch.&uot;

Stephens said it was a challenge to provide affordable housing, but that the RHA faces policy issues.

He recognized the Life Skills/Job Skills program and commended Executive Assistant Crystal Joyner for being &uot;motivated to make a difference&uot; in the community—enough to become an employee of FRHA.

He asked others to get involved in issues that they are passionate about.

&uot;It’s not enough to vote and pay your taxes,&uot; he said.

Graduates of the Life Skills/Job Skills program were presented certificates.

Participants were not only entertained by the comical antics of Elsie Olds posing as Sister Sadie Crazy, but also by Voices of Harmony of Courtland and Instruments of Praise, which has members from Franklin and Southampton County.