Last month, Regional Administrator José Alvarez, Field Office Director Shea Johnson, and the Georgia Field Office team traveled to Americus, Georgia, to meet with the Housing Authority of Americus for a tour of their housing portfolio. While there, the RA got an opportunity to meet with staff to hear about some of the new processes and systems that allowed them to keep their doors open to continue serving their clients during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
During the visit, the RA also toured some RAD and Project Based developments and saw the first of its kind, a "homeownership program" offered through the Housing Authority of Americus. The program began when the housing authority realized they had over 12 Section 8 households with higher income limits that could own homes. So, thanks to the creativity of their local banks and collaboration with the city, the Housing Authority of Americus was able to acquire 19 houses undergoing renovations for the families to move into. And with the help of the housing authority and first-time homeownership counseling, these families are provided the necessary guidance and tools to obtain and maintain homeownership. The Housing Authority of Americus is the only housing authority with a program of this kind.
However, the tour's highlight was a stop in Plains, Georgia, where Regional Administrator Alvarez and his team received an opportunity to tour the home of former President Jimmy Carter, the first and only US President to live in a public housing development. During this stop, the RA met with some Plains Historic Preservation Trust members to listen to their efforts to restore the President's units to their original state and maintain to dispel public housing myths in America.