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Housing Matters: Award Winners

Satana Deberry, Executive Director

Last week was Housing Works 2017: the NC Affordable Housing Conference.  During the conference, the Coalition gives awards to the folks who have made significant contributions to making sure every North Carolinian has a safe, decent, affordable place to live.  Nominations for these awards come from our membership and we couldn’t do it without you! As a membership organization, we strive to do great work for and with our members. In an effort to better serve you, we want to hear from you. Help us evaluate some of the work we do by completing the brief, 5-minute Member Survey. The survey will remain open through Monday, November 20th.

This week, we are using Housing Matters to introduce you to the 2017 award winners:

The Louise Mack Award – To recognize leadership in the field of housing counseling, the Louise Mack Award was presented to Saundra Harper of DHIC in Raleigh, NC for her dedication to the financial security of all North Carolinians. In 1995, Saundra Harper joined the DHIC team as an Administrative Assistant, but soon after, her passion for working with people came to surface and within a year, she became a homeownership counselor.  Since that time, Ms. Harper has spent her professional career at DHIC serving as a champion, coach, and advocate for countless families and individuals seeking to improve their financial health and aspiring to achieve the dream of first-time homeownership. Her commitment to her work and “can do” spirit has been critical to the growth, success and reputation of the DHIC Homeownership Center (HOC) and has positioned the organization to effectively respond to new challenges and opportunities in the marketplace. In the past ten years alone, Ms. Harper taught roughly 140 day-long Bringing Home the Dream homebuyer workshops, impacting approximately 3,500 graduates. She has delivered nearly 1,300 individual financial and homebuyer counseling sessions. Her efforts contributed to the successful closing of 1,200 home sales. Ms. Harper is particularly strong in connecting homebuyers with affordable and fair financing resources, helping them navigate through and benefit from various public and private downpayment assistance programs over the years.  Ms. Saundra Harper serves as DHIC’s Broker-In Charge and is a Certified Residential Specialist. She is also certified through the North Carolina Association of Housing Counselors and NeighborWorks® America.

The Sister Barbara Sullivan Volunteer of the Year Award – To recognize devotion to finding viable solutions and improving housing conditions for low-income families through volunteer commitment and sacrifice, the Sister Barbara Sullivan Award was presented to Dick Forbis for his tireless work with Chatham Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina.  Dick has volunteered for more than 15 years as a construction site supervisor with Chatham County HFH. For six of those years, he sat on the board of directors in positions of leadership. Dick works wonders with a hammer, frames a mean door, throws up a wall or hammers in a floor as well as anybody on the site. He is a semi-professional electrician and plumber. Basically, Dick can build a whole Habitat house by himself—and has, several times over. He has given in excess of 10,000 hours of service to Chatham Habitat—13 hours or so a week—for 15 years as one of their most capable leaders on the work site. Most recently, he has served as board chair for Habitat NC, where he is aggressively coordinating the SECU/Habitat Mountains to the Sea Challenge, involving himself specifically in construction efforts across the state.  Find out more about Dick as the Chatham County hometown hero here.

The Bill Rowe Service to Affordable Housing Award – To recognize significant commitment and impact on affordable housing over the course of a career, the Bill Rowe Service to Affordable Housing Award was presented to Mal Maynard for his service to families facing foreclosure and his continued dedication to making sure every North Carolinian has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.  Mal is director of the Financial Protection Law Center in Wilmington, a not-for-profit public interest law firm that represents borrowers with claims against predatory mortgage lenders, manufactured home dealers, and payday lenders. He has been a leader in North Carolina in fighting for consumer and housing protections, and he partnered with the legal and advocacy groups on numerous litigation and legislative efforts regarding predatory lending and foreclosures. Mal has served as co-counsel in several mortgage lending class-action cases that have provided recoveries totaling in excess of $10 million, and he is co-counsel in class-action cases filed in North Carolina against payday lenders that resulted in settlements for recovery of $44.75 million. He is the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Vern Countryman Award from the National Consumer Law Center and a 2000 recipient of the Justice Center’s Defenders of Justice Award.

The A. Robert Kucab Professional of the Year Award – To recognize the exemplary efforts of an affordable housing professional who has gone above and beyond their normal role or duties, the A. Robert Kucab Award was presented to Debra King, CEO of CASA of Raleigh, NC, for her service to affordable housing and her success in creating nearly 500 affordable units in North Carolina.  Debra has been CASA’s leader since 1995. Prior to entering the nonprofit world, Debra was the construction division director for a computer software firm. Debra has served on numerous regional task forces regarding housing and poverty issues.  For her leadership and service, Debra received the 2007 William C. Bass Award from Better Homes for NC and has been inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women. Debra is a former Chair of the Wake County Partnership to End Homelessness.

The Public Official of the Year Award – To recognize a public official who prioritizes improving housing conditions and advocates for policies and resources that expand affordable housing access, the Public Official of the Year Award was presented to Michael Sprayberry for being an affordable housing champion and leading the recovery effort after Hurricane Matthew.  In February 2013, Sprayberry was appointed as the Director of North Carolina Emergency Management.  He is also the North Carolina Deputy Homeland Security Advisor.  He serves as President of the National Emergency Management Association and is a member the FEMA National Advisory Council.  Additionally, he serves on the State Emergency Response Commission and the State Radiation Protection Commission.  Prior to joining state government, Mr. Sprayberry served in the U.S. Marine Corps and the N.C. Army National Guard.  He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  His awards include The Order of Long Leaf Pine, the Colonel William A. Thompson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Emergency Management, the United States Army Meritorious Service Award (with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), the North Carolina National Guard Distinguished Service Medal and he is a member of the North Carolina National Guard Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

Recommended read

Housing Matters Policy Update: 9-27-17

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