From the desk of Benjamin Stevenson, Executive Director
After recently completing my first year as Executive Director, I am very excited about the direction in which the Lakeland Housing Authority is headed. Please allow me to share a couple of our achievements. HUD recently completed the Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) certification process for the LHA Section 8 program. The program is rated a High Performer after receiving a score of 97%. Congratulations go out to Carlos Pizarro, Idalia Gonzales-Morales and their staff. While we are extremely happy with the rating, we are still looking for ways to improve the program and services.
I also want to congratulate the Resident Services staff on winning two national awards from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). LHA’s Office Skills Training Program and YouthBuild-Lakeland each received the NAHRO Award of Merit in Housing and Community Development. Specials thanks is given to Earl Haynes and his staff; Cynthia Zorn-Shaw (OST Program) and Nick Elzy, Richard Mooneyham and Janiene Bambridge (YBL).
I would also like to congratulate Michael Pimentel on being selected by the Board of Commissioners to serve another term as Chairman. Rev. Richard Richardson was selected as Vice-Chairman. Please join me in extending heartfelt congratulations to both of them.
LHA is continuing our efforts to build partnerships while providing summer programs in our communities. In the spirit of that initiative, we have joined with Polk Works to provide a Summer Youth Employment Program at the LHA Emma Turner Center. The partnership will provide employment and training opportunities for youths age 16-21. LHA strongly supports Polk Works and all of the partners in this endeavor. Residents of all communities may visit EMC to learn about employment and training opportunities.
LHA is also continuing its partnership with Girls, Inc. of Lakeland and their Prodigy Cultural Arts Program. This is an outstanding program and I encourage all eligible young ladies in our communities to participate. I guarantee that your life will not be the same after experiencing what Prodigy has to offer.
As you can see, LHA continues to provide several programs and services to help our residents improve their lives and move towards self-sufficiency. It is definitely a new day at LHA!!! I look forward to working with the LHA Board of Commissioners and staff to deliver quality products and services for the LHA community during 2013. I will close by extending a special thanks to my alma mater, Mulberry High School, for inducting me into their Alumni Hall of Fame. Go Panthers!!!