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Housing Authority’s Resident Services Program Receives National Award

The local agency is recognized for its 'Furniture Closet,' which provides newly housed families with cookware, cleaning supplies and other essentials

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has been named a recipient of a 2009 national Award of Excellence from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

The Housing Authority’s “Furniture Closet,” an innovative social-service program offered through its Office of Resident Services, won in the category of Program Innovation — Resident and Client Services.

The Award of Excellence will be presented at NAHRO’s National Conference in October in Washington, D.C. The Housing Authority is one of only 18 agencies nationwide to receive the 2009 award.

The Housing Authority’s Furniture Closet Program is designed to assist newly housed families, seniors, people with disabilities and people transitioning from homelessness, many of whom lack the essentials to create and complete a home, items such as furniture, linens, cookware, utensils and cleaning supplies.

“For our clients, a safe, secure and affordable home is the foundation for pursuing life activities that bring success and happiness,” said Rob Pearson, executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority. “In order to create this foundation of a home, many of our clients need more than just shelter.”

The purpose of the NAHRO Award of Excellence is to recognize outstanding innovation and achievement in housing and community development programs throughout the country.

“We are honored by NAHRO’s recognition of The Furniture Closet,” Pearson said, “and are proud to be a part of an organization that promotes innovations that advance housing authorities beyond their traditional role of simply offering shelter and elevate themselves into multifaceted social-service organizations that provide seniors, families and disabled persons the necessary tools to have a successful tenancy and future.”

The Furniture Closet program, which was started in 2005, is administered by young adult and student interns, and provides the community with training opportunities in business management, including inventory control and customer service delivery.

To donate new or gently used furniture and other items, call 805.897.1044.

— Candice Tang is a publicist.

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