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Auburn Forward Winter 2020

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 - Front Page

Auburn Forward

Winter 2020

  • Fall Recap
  • Meet Your Staff
  • Resident News
  • Spring Cleaning
  • Free Tax Prep
  • Census 2020

AHA Winter 2020 Newsletter Front Page

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (From the CEO) - Page 2


Sharon N. Tolbert, Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer Sharon Tolbert
It is my desire that you found the first edition of the Auburn Forward Fall 2019 newsletter to be a useful tool to communicate upcoming events, news and more with our residents, community partners and the public at large. The Winter 2020 edition reflects on events from the previous quarter and upcoming events.

We were busy during the last quarter but a lot was accomplished. In November 2019, the FYE2019 audit was completed for the Auburn Housing Authority (AHA) and its managed agencies. I am pleased to say there were no findings or concerns. In addition, all agencies received a "High Performer" rating based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) performance measurement
standards. It takes hard work and dedicated employees to continue to perform at this level. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all employees for your commitment and dedication to the success of the AHA.

I also want to thank the Board of Commissioners for your dedication to the AHA and entrusting me to serve as the CEO. Thank you for your time, support and commitment to the AHA organization! I truly appreciate your service to the AHA and the Auburn community.

To all of our community partners, thank you for partnering with AHA as we strive to fulfill our mission to provide safe, decent, and sanitary housing conditions for individuals and families. Our objective is to provide personal, economic, and social upward mobility by offering individuals and families the opportunity to make the transition from subsidized to nonsubsidized housing.

I look forward to another great quarter! For more information, please visit the AHA's website at and sign up for "News and More" to receive email and text notifications. You may also follow AHA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Sharon N. Tolbert

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Comissioner's Corner) - Page 3


Robert Smith Chairperson Robert Smith,
Nolan Tolbert Commissioner Nolan Torbert, Sr.,
John Saidla Commissioner John Saidla,
Marguerite White Resident Commissioner Marguerite White,
not pictured Deborah Hand,
Resident Commissioner


AHA is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners, representing a cross-section of the community and appointed by the Mayor of the City of Auburn. One member must be a resident of an AHA property or program. The Commissioners are responsible for overseeing the fiscal management of the agency and is involved in reviewing and approving all policies pertaining to the housing authority. Board members also appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to administer the daily affairs of the housing authority. Board meetings are held at noon on the last Tuesday of each month. The meeting is held at the Auburn Housing Authority located at 931 Booker Street. The meeting date is subject to change.


Commissioners Marguerite White and Nolan Torbert attended the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) Commissioner's Conference in Phoenix, AZ in January 2020. The Commissioners attended sessions related to redevelopment,
procurement, security, the role of Commissioners, etc.



Commissioner Nolan Torbert was recognized during the AHA's Annual
Christmas Luncheon in December 2019 for 15 years of loyal and dedicated service.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Human Resources & News) Page 4


New AHA Employees

DeWana Blackmon, HCV Receptionist/Clerk

DeWana (Shay) Blackmon

HCV Receptionist/Clerk


Sandra Sanders and Kelvin Whitlow were recognized during AHA' Annual Christmas in December 2019 for their loyal and dedicated service.

Sandra Sanders 25 years of service recognition Sandra Sanders
25 years of service
Kelvin Whitlow 5 years of service recognition Kelvin Whitlow
5 years of service


Sharon Tolbert AHA CEO orange shirt Sharon Tolbert
Sandra Sanders AHA HR orange shirt Sandra Sanders
Executive Admin. Asst/
Human Resources
Charlotte Mattox AHA Resident Services orange shirt Charlotte Mattox
Resident Services


AHA Multifamily Housing Department

From Left to Right: Demetrius Parhams (Maintenance Laborer), Carrie Smith (Reg. Property Mgr.), Mark Ellis (Reg. Maintenance Mgr), Bonnie Morgan (Receptionist/Cashier), AJ Harris (Director of Property Operations) Greg Moore (Maintenance Mechanic), Harvey Maddox (Maintenance Mechanic Asst), Kenneth Pitchford (Maintenance Mechanic), and Dennis Cannon (Maintenance Mechanic Asst)


AHA Housing Choice Voucher Department

From Left to Right: Star Snipe (HCV Director), Natasha Hall (HCV
Caseworker), Laura Squiers (HCV Caseworker)


Finance Department AHA

From Left to Right: Wendy Cochran (Finance Director), Sylvia Impson
(Purchasing Clerk), Richetta Stephens (Procurement Specialist)

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Census 2020) Page 5

Census 2020
The results of the 2020 Census will help determine each state's representation in Congress, as well as how certain funds are spent for schools, hospitals, roads, and more. This is your chance to play a part in history and help ensure that everyone in your community is counted!


Be A Census Taker!

Are you looking for the perfect opportunity to earn some extra income while helping your community? This is your chance
to play a part in history and help ensure that everyone in your
community is counted! 

To be eligible for a 2020 Census job, you must:
-Be at least 18 years old.
-Be a U.S. citizen.
-Commit to completing the training.
-Be available to work flexible hours, which can include days,
evenings, and/or weekends.

Interested in learning more or applying? Visit
or stop by one of our US Census Hiring Events:

2/24/2020 - 1:00pm-5:00pm
AHA Administrative Offices
931 Booker St.

2/24/2020 - 1:00pm-5:00pm
Porter Community Center
415 White St.

2/25/2020 - 9:00am-1:00pm,
Sparkman Community Center
1350 Commerce Dr.

2/25/2020 - 9:00am-1:00pm,
Eastpark Community Center
900 Old Mill Rd.

2/27/2020 - 9:00am-1:00pm
Drake Community Center
530 Foster St.

2/27/2020 - 9:00am-1:00pm,
Moton Community Center
700 Martin Luther King Dr.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Senior Luncheon) Page 6

Senior Holiday Luncheon

Senior Holiday Luncheon group at restaurant

Senior resident and staff posing at senior luncheon holiday

We had a great time at our Senior Citizen's Holiday Luncheon. Our residents and staff enjoyed delicious food and great conversation!
See the full album on our Facebook pages and at

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Employee Christmas) Page 7


CEO Sharon Tolbert, husband, and employees at Christmas Luncheon
Our employees came together prior to the holidays to enjoy good food, express appreciation, and engage in a lot of laughs! See the full album on our Facebook pages and at

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Community Christmas) Page 8


group of youth resident outside with decorated christmas tree

senior citizen showing off her christmas tree craft

youth residents outside decorating cookies

little girl showing off her christmas tree coloring sheet

male resident showing off his christmas tree craft youth resident posing with smile
Residents joined in for a festive, family-friendly event in their community to kick-off decorating for the holidays! They enjoyed
cupcakes, cookies, games, and crafts while helping spread holiday cheer. See the full album on our Facebook pages and at

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Scholarships) Page 9

Scholarship Opportunities

The 2020 HAI Group Resident Scholarship Program is open for submissions!  This year, 20 people will win scholarships valued at $6,000 each! Residents submit your completed entry form by Thursday, April 30, 2020. Completed entries will be placed into a drawing to be held on or about Monday, May 4, 2020.

Applications are being accepted for The Alabama Housing Authorities Education and Enrichment Fund (AHAEEF) Scholarship. Applicants must be a Public Housing/Section 8 resident (includes RAD PBV/PBRA). Application deadline March 23, 2020.

The 2020-2021 Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship application is now open! High school seniors of Hispanic heritage can earn $500 to

Scholarship leadership life skills flyer

Scholarship Leadership Life Skills 

$1 Billion in scholarships available & it's free to enter!

If you are:

  • a girl in the class of 2021
  • involved in school or community activities
  • outstanding in academics, leadership, athletics OR the arts
  • interested in earning scholarships for college

This program is for you!

Distinguished Young Women of Lee County is part of a national program which awards scholarships for young women's achievements.

Throughout your participation, you will be encouraged to reach your goals, continue your education and be confident in your opinions.  College scholarships are available to all participants and over $1 billion is available nationally.

And it's FREE to participate!

You can:

  • make new friendships
  • learn life skills like interviewing and public speaking
  • have fun putting on showcases of your achievements
  • Plus, help pay for your college education!

Sign Up Today!

Questions? Email us at

Deadline:  May 1, 2021


AHA assists Auburn High School seniors by paying fees for cap and gown, ACT and SAT testing and Project Graduation. Funding is available to seniors that are assisted by the AHA and attends school in the Auburn city limits. Funding is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Dr. Lafayette and FREE Tax Prep) Page 10

The Auburn Housing Authority sponsored a table at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast. Civil rights leader, Dr. Bernard Lafayette, was the guest speaker.


Dr. Bernard Lafayette at mlk celebration in auburn alabama

Dr. Bernard Lafayette

July 29, 1940
-Raised in Tampa, Florida
"I'll take Selma," Bernard Lafayette told Jim Forman on the phone. As one of the young activists emerging from the nonviolent Nashville Movement and the 1961 Freedom Rides, Lafayette had come to understand that "it [was] not something you read that causes you to change ... It's when you see other individuals fight against the system, and insist that justice will come, and believe that justice will come, even if you have to lose your life."

So, in the spring of 1963, Lafayette and his new wife, Colia Liddell, went to Selma where he became the official director of SNCC's Alabama voter registration project. Before heading deeper South, he stopped at Tuskegee Institute to arm himself with information, sifting through newspaper records about the Citizens' Council and lynchings.

In Selma, he worked with local organizations like the Dallas County Voters League that had been organized by S.W. and Amelia Boynton in the 1930s, taking the "time to develop local leadership and to bring various levels of leadership together in a way that they were able to sustain themselves through the struggle."

Early in his life, Lafayette knew that the pursuit of social justice would be central to his life. After seeing the abuse his grandmother received on segregated streetcar system, he was "filled with an emotional feeling that [he] would never forget." Lafayette "could not wait to get grown" and joined the NAACP when he was just twelve-years-old. "It was the moment that caused me to decide that I was going to use my life to fight against the segregation system."A mugshot of
Bernard Lafayette, who was arrested for participating in the Freedom Rides, 1961,

As a freshman at American Baptist Seminary in Nashville, where James Bevel was his classmate, Lafayette participated in Jim Lawson's nonviolent workshops and workshops at the Highlander Folk School. In 1961, he was badly beaten as a Freedom Rider in Montgomery, Alabama when a huge white mob surrounded the Freedom Riders and launched a brutal attack that was ignored
by police. And on the night that Medgar Evers was murdered in Mississippi- June 12, 1963-Lafayette was severely beaten in Selma. Still, he never abandoned his commitment to nonviolence as a way of life. 

Lafayette left SNCC to begin working with SCLC. Like James Bevel's movement into SCLC, Lafayette's shift highlighted the cross-fertilization that characterized much movement work. Lafayette went on to become one of the most widely recognized authorities on strategies for nonviolent social change and one of the leading exponents of nonviolent direct action in the world.

Bio taken from


SaveFirst has partnered with Auburn University to offer tax preparation services now through March 5 at the Boykin Community Center. Tax preparation by IRS certified volunteers is free for households earning up to $56,000.To take advantage of the services, taxpayers can make an appointment by calling 1-888-99-TAX-AL or visiting

The Boykin Community Center is located at 400 Boykin St., Auburn,  AL.


Understanding Mortgages

Financial Seminar 

February 25th - 3PM

Sparkman Community Center

1350 Commerce Dr. Auburn, AL 

For more information contact: Charlotte Mattox

334.821.2262 ext 230

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Landlord Corner) Page 11


A friendly reminder that McCright Inspection Company will automatically schedule a re-inspection for failed HQS inspections. Please review the letters for important information about dates
and adverse actions taken for noncompliance.


If you move, remember to report your new address to our office in writing.  Also, report changes in anticipated changes of ownership as soon as possible. You must advise us before you sell the property rented to a voucher holder. There is paperwork that must be done to adjust ownership and rental assistance.


Landlords: If you are entering into a new lease at the annual renewal, you must provide a copy of the new proposed lease prior to the tenant signing the lease. If you have questions about the program, don't guess, please call the Housing Choice Voucher Office Program (HCVP) at (334) 821-2262. Thank you for partnering with
Auburn Housing Authority (AHA) to provide decent, safe, and sanitary
housing for low-income families.


Do you know what to do if you suspect fraud or criminal activity occurring at an HCVP assisted home? You can do your part to help keep your community safe by using the link below to report
fraudulent or criminal activity.


The AHA has 18 VASH vouchers to house homeless veterans in Lee County. The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers and community-based outreach clinics. If you know of any homeless veterans that could utilize this program contact Lejasmine Gary at


Did you know? The HCVP has housing preferences for Homeless families and Victims of Domestic Violence. If you are being assisted by or receiving assistance from a Homeless shelter and/or are a victim of Domestic Violence you may qualify for additional points to be housed. The agency that is assisting you would only need to provide a letter verifying your need on their letterhead with a signature stating that you are being assisted by their agency. The letter needs to be faxed, mailed, or hand delivered by that agency to the HCVP office.


Participants of the HCV Program are required to submit all changes in writing with 10 calendar days. These changes may include loss of employment, new employment, updated phone numbers and emails and change in student status. Landlords who are aware of an unauthorized individual residing in the home should contact the HCVP
Department immediately. Updating household information is vital to keeping your HCVP participation in good standing. The voucher size is
based on household composition. Families receive deductions for dependents. It is very important to keep this updated.



Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Property Management) Page 12

5 Ways to Rebound from Holiday Spending

-First, keep in mind that you are not alone.

-Second, take an honest assessment of the damage and talk to a trusted family member, friend or debt counselor about your concern.

-Third, if you are able, return any gifts you have bought or received for a refund or, at least, store credit to be used at a better time.

-Fourth, immediately figure out a debt repayment plan, develop a budget for the coming months and stick to it. Confide in a trusted family member or friend who can hold you accountable.

-Fifth, don't be too proud to ask for help emotionally or financially if you're so tapped out you're having trouble making ends meet. Although nobody should enable an over spender, you might find support if you are serious about owning up and breaking the cycle. This includes calling the credit card companies to negotiate a more favorable debt repayment plan, making serious changes to your habits and maybe selling things or dipping into savings.



We are getting ready to go through our annual HQS (Housing Quality Standard) Inspections and the more we can remind tenants to clean up, call us if they have items that need to be repaired, items not working in their apartment, the better. It is the responsibility of the family to give the inspector access to the unit. If the Head of Household (HOH) is not present, the HOH may designate someone else to be present to give the inspector access. However, the designated person must be 18 (yrs.) or older.

For any family caused deficiencies discovered the family is responsible to have those deficiencies fixed. Failing to give the inspector access to the unit or failure to fix family caused deficiencies are violations of the family obligations for TBV and responsibilities for PBV.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Bed Bugs and Prevention) Page 13

Bed Bugs and Prevention


When fighting, it is good to know your enemy. Bed bugs are reddish-brown, flattened, oval and wingless. They feed exclusively on warm-blooded animals-like humans. Bed bugs are hardy insects: They are able to survive without feeding for a year. In humans, bed bugs bites may cause skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms.

Rental premises may become infested with bed bugs in a variety of ways, including entering the premises on pets, clothing, luggage, furniture, or wild animals such as rodents, bats or birds; arriving via duct work or other routes from nearby dwellings. "Bed bugs" earned their name thanks to their proclivity for living in mattresses, box springs and bed frames. For this reason, references to bed bugs are a common nighttime adage: "Sleep tight; don't let the bed bugs bite!"

Nevertheless, bed bugs are not limited to bed-rooms and may live anywhere in a home, including furniture, curtains and wallpaper. Frustratingly, bed bugs are known to be elusive and nocturnal. They are best detected by their bites as well as fecal spots and blood smears on bedsheets.

Landlord Terms

Lease terms can require tenants to report sightings of bedbugs. A quick response may help limit the infestation. The lease can also include requirements that tenants' mattresses and box springs be synthetically encased-to help prevent bedbug infestation. The lease can also specify that the tenant is obligated to allow entry to pest control exterminators and to cooperate fully in eradicating any pest infestations. Building maintenance staff can be trained to recognize
bedbugs and signs of bedbug infestations. Early detection is best!

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can't be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.

Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.

Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead. Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide. Get rid of clutter around the bed.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Resident Notice) Page 14


The Auburn Housing Authority's (AHA) mission is to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for families. The AHA's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is funded by the federal government and AHA must comply with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) regulations and AHA's internal policies and procedures. AHA encourages families to comply with the following requirements to maintain their housing assistance. 

a. Comply with your annual recertification requirements and submit the requested information by the deadline.

b. Report changes of your income and household composition as required. 

c. Comply with your landlord's dwelling lease. 

d. Comply with all written requests that are submitted by the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Department and forward the requested information by the deadline.

Not complying with the requirements above may result in the termination of your assistance or eviction. The list above is not all-inclusive. 

If you have questions about your HCV assistance, please contact the
HCV Department as follows:

Auburn Housing Authority
931 Booker Street
Auburn, AL 36832
(334) 821-2262

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (Resident Info) Page 15


Rent Payment
Rent and service fees are due the 1st of each month, late after the 6th. If the last day to pay rent falls upon a day the Authority is closed
(weekend or holiday) then residents have the next business day to pay rent. The late fee is $40.00 per month. Please pay your rent on time to eliminate late fees and possible eviction!


Rental Insurance
Residents are encouraged to obtain rental insurance. Rental insurance helps to protect your belongings after a covered loss.


An emergency work order will be completed and mitigated within twenty-four (24) hours. If a situation is determined to not be an emergency, the resident will be informed that the request will be considered as "any other resident work order request". Normal
work orders will be resolved within 3 business days. Examples of a work order emergency are:

-Broken exterior door lock
-Loss of power - mechanical failure
-Broken water line
-Loose or falling ceiling
-No Heat (when the outside temperature is less than 35 degrees)

Please call to request a work order:

Routine Maintenance Work Orders:
(334)821-2262, Option 4 then Option 1

Emergency AFTER hours Work Orders:
(334)821-2262, Option 4 then Option 2

For Police and Fire Emergencies dial 911


Smoking Policy
Smoking is NOT permitted inside the unit. See the Smoke-Free Policy that's included as an addendum to your lease for more information.



Stay updated on events, programs and initiatives sponsored by The Auburn, LaFayette and Roanoke Housing Authorities by liking, following, and engaging with us on social media. We're your key to Housing Opportunities!

sign up for "News and More" to receive email and text notifications.


AHA Public Hearing Notice
A Public Hearing will be held on March 9, 2020 at 10:00 am at the Auburn Housing Authority located at 931 Booker Street, Auburn, AL 36832 to receive public comments regarding the proposed 5-Year Plan and 2020 Annual Plan. The Plans are available for review at
the Auburn Housing Authority.


AHA Staff Spring Cleaning
AHA staff will be out during March and April picking up trash around the properties. You are invited to come out and meet AHA staff and assist in cleanup. Dates and times will be announced at a later date.

Auburn Forward Winter 2020 (After-School Program) Page 16

Sparkman_After-school program flyer


After-School Program

Open to All Youth

Feb 25th - April 7th (Tuesdays Only)

3-4:30PM at 1350 Commerce Dr.

For more information, contact Charlotte Mattox: