Burlington Housing Authority highlights programs, new donation site
Burlington Housing Authority is celebrating Housing America Month this month by educating the community on its programming in hopes of stirring up new donations for continued services.
Housing America Month was designated as an annual month of awareness in 2007. Throughout the month, members of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials work to raise "awareness of the need for and the importance of safe, decent and affordable housing in quality communities."
Locally, the duties of Housing America Month fall on BHA. Since 1967, BHA has provided affordable housing to low-income families, senior citizens and disabled individuals throughout the city. As of Oct. 18, 1,067 people, including 508 children and 225 elderly and disabled residents, were living in housing because of BHA programming.
However, Executive Director Veronica Revels said, BHA is using Housing America Month to raise awareness in the community about BHA's other programming.
"We are not just housing. Our work extends beyond providing safe and affordable housing for the community. We are passionate about the programming we have for our residents and nonresidents and are committed to equipping them with the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty and to live their best lives," Revels said.
BHA uses federally funded housing programs to provide affordable housing in the first step of the agency's "move in, move up, move out" model. According to the release, BHA aims to provide safe housing, then empower residents through education, job training and more before they move out as productive, sustainable citizens.
To tackle their goals of changing resident's lives, Revels highlighted programs offered by BHA:
- In August, 15 4-year-old children graduated the pre-kinders academically prepared for kindergarten.
- In the spring session of the youth employment program, 20 students got involved, and three got jobs.
- There are 100 participants in the after-school enrichment program, and 120 in the summer enrichment program, which maintains a waiting list.
- There are 38 participants in the family self-sufficiency program, along with 23 graduates, nine of whom became homeowners, and another who is preparing for homeownership.
- Fifty-six scholarships totaling $66,269.07 have been awarded to students seeking higher education through the GRASPS program. These funds, which cover tuition, fees, books, transportation, etc. for BHA residents, have been used for 48 non-degree education programs, and to obtain seven Bachelor's or Associate's degrees and one Master's degree since inception.
- Seventy-nine people have volunteered for the retired senior volunteer program, putting in a total of 5,432 volunteer hours.
- BHA's two homeless programs, HOPE and STEPS, have housed 17 individuals and 22 families, respectively.
- To promote health and wellness, BHA has three community gardens, free A-1C checks and a pilot 14-week diabetes prevention/intervention program.
"I'm excited to bring awareness during Housing America Month to the community about all the programs we offer to our residents and surrounding area because affordable housing alone cannot address all of the needs that affect our residents," Revels said.
BHA hopes that by raising awareness of their programming, more residents will be moved to donate so the agency can continue its services. To make donating easier, BHA has set up a new online donation system "whereby those who share our passion to serve others may financially support our programming."
To donate online, visit www.BurlingtonHA.org and click the "donate" button. To make donations by mail, checks can be made payable to Burlington Development Corporation, the nonprofit 501c-3 that supports the agency, and mailed to P.O. Box 2380, Burlington NC 27216. Contributions are tax deductible.
"I encourage you to invest in BHA by utilizing our new donation system," Revels said.
For more information about donating or programming, contact the Burlington Housing Authority at 336-226-8421.
Article published by The Times-News October 21, 2019
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