On December 11, 2017 HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett’s listening tour arrived at Jackson, Mississippi. One of her stops was historic Tougaloo College, for a meeting with President Beverly Hogan. Cleveland-Leggett, HUD Mississippi Field Office Director Jerrie Magruder, and President Hogan discussed the possibility of Tougaloo College students tutoring children who live in HUD subsidized public and multifamily housing properties. They also visited the George A. and Ruth B. Owens Health and Wellness Center located on the campus. The wellness center was funded in part by HUD. President Hogan noted it is a great addition to their living and learning environment and helps them to address their outreach service mission.
Jackson Medical Mall (JMM) was also visited by the HUD team. This is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary health care complex that serves Jackson’s urban community. The JMM is the result of the vision of local physician and community leader Dr. Aaron Shirley. He wanted to convert the dilapidated Jackson Mall into a medical facility that would provide quality health care to those in need, and prompt community development in the surrounding area. Terrence Shirley, son of Dr. Shirley and University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Administrator, provided a tour of the facility and shared a photo of his parents with Dr. Ben Carson, who was a speaker at a JMM event several years ago. A Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program grantee is housed at the JMM.
The Kundi Compound was the final stop on RA Cleveland-Leggett’s tour of Jackson. Located in a Jackson Housing Authority (JHA) development, "The Compound" is operated by local rapper, Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin, and it provides a creative space for local entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians to meet and grow their businesses. A local bank donated computers that are used by community residents, and future plans include establishing a library within the facility. The building is adjacent to The Jackson Solar Housing Project a JHA community that was Mississippi’s first solar powered affordable housing project.
The Regional Administrator’s visit to the area also included a meeting at the HUD office with all the employees during a special day, as they were partaking on a potluck annual meal celebrating the holidays.