Public housing residents' leadership training scheduled for Friday

Fairmount Apartments located in North Chattanooga were torn down to make room for new units.

Leadership training

The leadership training will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the UTC Sim Center on 701 East M.L. King Blvd. For more information contact D. A. Ward at 423-463-0386.

Public housing residents who persuaded the Chattanooga Housing Authority to pay for leadership training are modeling the behavior they want their neighbors to display, supporters say.

Residents cited U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines to encourage CHA to pay for the training with Racquel Williams, founder of One Million Moms Off Welfare by 2025 and the chairwoman of the Housing Authority of the County of Wake in North Carolina.

The housing authority is paying $2,900 for the 30 people who have registered. The training takes place Friday.

"There has never been training ever given locally on this scale. This is groundbreaking and historic," said Daughn-Alan Ward, a public housing resident and founder of the nonprofit Our C.A.R.E.S. Inc., which advocates for public housing and low-income residents.

Residents want more say-so in activities, in what happens to them when public housing sites are torn down, and they want control over funds generated from laundry and vending machines. Ward said he attended training out of town where he heard public housing resident councils from across the country discuss how they used funding from the vending machines to improve residents' quality of life.

Ward said he hopes the training scheduled this week will help get the ball rolling for future leadership opportunities.

CHA Executive Director Betsy McCright said the housing authority has provided other training opportunities for residents.

The residents will receive training just before three public housing sites hosts their resident council elections next week. It also comes as residents from Chattanooga's two largest public housing sites, East Lake Courts and College Hill Courts, face the possibility of relocation within the next seven years, according to public housing officials. The CHA has said it doesn't have money to keep up the sites comprising more than 900 households.

Williams' day-long training session is called RADAR - Realistic Approaches to Developing Active Residents - Regional Bootcamp.

Williams, a former public housing resident who earned a master's degree in public administration, will explain the powers vested in resident councils by federal law and go over the council officers' roles and responsibilities. She also will show residents how to manage budgets and explain allowable and unallowable activities allocated through TPA (tenant participation activities) funds.

McCright said resident services director Carol Johnson, other CHA staff, and CHA board member Edna Varner plan to attend.

HUD encourages partnerships between public housing residents and housing authorities for training and leadership. The training is not a requirement, but it is an eligible expense under tenant participation funding, spokesman Joseph Phillips said.

Phillips said HUD encourages housing authorities such as the Chattanooga Housing Authority and residents to work together.

"Resident leadership training allows residents to network with other public housing residents and housing authority staff members to build new relationships and gain powerful insights on ways to improve their neighborhood," he said.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or 757-6431.