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Housing Authority receives national award

December 22, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown Housing Authority received an early Christmas gift Friday afternoon when it learned it had been named the recipient of a national Excellence in Housing award.

Announcement of the recognition was made at the Housing Authority's annual employee holiday luncheon at Elgin Station.

The local agency was selected for top honors over thousands of housing authorities across the country, said Jose Rodriguez, who represented Nan McKay & Associates Inc., sponsors of the award.

Nan McKay is a California-based company that provides training and consulting to subsidized housing agencies across the country.

Rodriguez said the award is the company's way of recognizing "the one housing authority that has created opportunities to improve the lives of its citizens through creative and superior housing programs."

Housing authorities who applied for the honor were judged in a variety of areas, Rodriguez said, ranging from incentive programs and national HUD rankings to overall operations within the community.

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"We're extremely honored to receive this award," said Ted Shankle, Hagerstown Housing Authority's executive director. "We've received quite a few awards this year, particularly for our West End revitalization project. But this one is exceptional because it recognizes the work of all of our employees, from maintenance and security to the social services department and administrative office."

"You did this," he told the assembled employees. "You should be very proud of what you've accomplished."

"This is a team that works so well together," said Carolyn Brooks, chairwoman of the housing authority's board of commissioners. "And they take pride in the work that they do. It's nice that they've received this recognition."

"I don't think the impact has hit yet," she said. "To receive a national award ... this is outstanding and well deserved."

Rodriguez said he was impressed with the many housing units and community revitalization programs he toured while visiting Hagerstown.

"Every housing authority's goal should be to make the stigma attached to public housing nonexistent," he said. "People should have a sense of pride in where they live. From what I have seen firsthand, Hagerstown definitely deserves this award."

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