Housing director honored

Published 10:10 am Friday, June 4, 2010

The executive director of the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority was recognized last week by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials with the organization’s highest award of merit.

Jon Ford, who started in November 2002 as the executive director in Albert Lea, received the Allan Anderson Award, given out annually, at the NAHRO annual spring conference in Brainerd May 27.

“I was really surprised and pretty humbled over the whole thing,” Ford said. “It was kind of a shock.”

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The nomination letter for Ford described him as having a “long-term commitment to the viability and growth of Albert Lea Housing Authority” and as a person who is well known for his dedication and hard work.

“He’s a tireless promoter of Albert Lea Housing Authority and has opened a variety of new funding options to help low income families in our area, by adding more rental opportunities as well as helping families fulfill the dream of home ownership,” the letter continued.

He has training in community leadership development, grantmanship, affordable housing development and project feasibility analysis, among other topics.

Ford said during his time in Albert Lea, some of his favorite projects have been the community based programs, such as the Small Cities Development Program, which have enabled qualified families in target areas to make necessary improvements to enhance their homes and bring value to the area. He has also been proud of getting the public housing back in shape, he noted.

Recently, he’s played an integral part in developing a program locally where foreclosed homes are purchased, rehabbed and then sold to a first-time home owner.

“His ability to bring these programs to an overwhelming and wonderful success has impressed the entire staff at Albert Lea Housing Authority, as well as community members,” the nomination letter continued.

The staff at the Albert Lea Housing Authority stated his skills as executive director do not end in the office.

“He also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our clients,” the letter stated. “I have seen him resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkaable patience and admirable tact. In the community he goes out of his way to help people.”