CHA’s STEM Program Set To Inspire The Minds Of Young People To Become The Next Generation Of IT Leaders

The Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) has teamed up with App YOUniversity to host a Hip-Hop Hackathon  at The Carole Hoefener Center. This innovative and high energy event changes the way kids see IT and the role they can play in creating new technology.

Hip Hop– Although widely considered a synonym for rap music, the term hip-hop refers to a complex culture comprising four elements: deejaying, rapping, also known as “MCing” or “rhyming”; graffiti painting, also known as “graf” or “writing”; and “B-boying,” which encompasses hip-hop dance, style, and attitude, … – We FOCUS on “Writing – Creating Code like rhymes” & “B-boying – Culture of Innovation”

Hackathon– the best place in the world where you can shape your ideas and if you win, then you can turn your idea into a product or even startups because prize money in a hackathon is huge. This special 2-3 hour event has been designed to expand under-served youth and collegiate students’ technological creativity.  We leverage the students’ personal IDEAS and passions to create technology products that will disrupt the world’s industries through apps.

“CHA is excited about the Hip-Hop Hackathon because it will expose our youth to the field of technology and potentially peak their interest in a career that they otherwise may not have been exposed. The families we serve are underrepresented in these fields,” said Tomico Evans, Executive Vice President of Client Service for CHA. “We want to empower our kids with the knowledge that they can change the world and that there are no limits as to what they can do.”

This amazing event is funded in part by the NBA Players Association and the Curry Family Foundation.

About App YOUniversity

App YOUniversity is an IT StartUp initiative founded by Orlandus Gilmore. App YOUniversity’s motto is “Inspiring youth, to become technology producers not just consumers.” The program is designed to provide IT exposure and jobs to under-served and under-educated youth. App YOUniversity’s philosophy is as technology leaders it is our responsibility to multiply the number of leaders in Information Technology by influencing and education the under-served youth in our community!

We are More than Bricks and Sticks

Since opening its first affordable home community in 1940, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) has built a solid track record of providing affordable housing in charlotte for nearly eighty years.

CHA is Mecklenburg County’s largest provider of affordable housing and our family of employees work tirelessly to provide safe and affordable housing to over 26,000 residents, (pause) nearly 10,000 of which are children.

The agency–funded by the U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development, is a leader in the affordable housing industry and has always sought the most innovative strategies available to meet the growing demand for affordable housing

Despite the growing housing challenges, CHA continues to be innovative, in our approach through development, management, maintenance and providing subsidy to over 10,000 properties throughout charlotte.

In addition, the agency runs a successful family self-sufficiency program.  CHA provides case management services to more than 1,200 families each year, helping each reach their full potential; including finding employment and placing them on a path to home ownership.

As one family becomes self-sufficient, we make room for another family needing affordable housing and services.

Recognized as one of the most progressive housing authority’s in the country, CHA has expanded its entrepreneurial efforts by creating its own development company, Horizon Development Properties Inc., a property management company, called Blue Horizon Management Company and CORE, our supportive service agency.

Our subsidiaries enable CHA to perform akin to the private market, thus creating the predictable cash flow needed to develop and preserve affordable homes – as well as – provide supportive services for families.

Over the last 5 years, we have brought to market The Renaissance, Vistas at 707, and The Landing at Park Road, The Oaks At Cherry and currently underway is the 16.2 acre Strawn Cottages site.

CHA is very proud of its rich history.  As for the future, we have a strong pipeline of development activity designed to serve Charlotte’s continuum of housing needs, but we are more than just bricks and sticks. We believe in our compassionate service and we guarantee that our focus will always be on the vulnerable families of charlotte who need housing most.

A Grandmother’s Love – Meet Ms. Lucy Brown

Lucy Brown is no stranger to taking care of a community. Growing up as one of 11 children, she was in charge of cooking dinner for the whole family. Raised on a farm in Hartsville, South Carolina, the importance of hard work was a value instilled in her at a young age. Lucy started her career in customer service, working at the local Wendy’s in her hometown. In 1986, she decided to take a leap of faith and move to Charlotte, NC leaving her family behind to start a new chapter in her life.

Having a background in customer service Lucy continued working as a Cashier for Wendy’s. Lucy started her own family of four kids and made sure to teach the same values her parents taught her growing up. Education was very important to her, so she made sure her children earned their high school diplomas and went on to pursue college degrees. After Lucy’s last child moved out of her home she decided to look for affordable housing for seniors. While searching, she found out about the Charlotte Housing Authority.

In 2001 as a resident of Edwin Towers, Lucy was active and always had ideas for things to improve resident life. One day, she was sitting down with former CHA Property Manager, Deloris Quick expressing some of her ideas to help the residents and Deloris suggested she should run for Resident President. This would give Lucy the opportunity to do more for her neighbors. “It was just something different that I had not done before, so I decided to give it a try.” Taking a big leap, Lucy became Resident President found her passion as a leader serving residents who needed a voice.

Lucy lived at Edwin Towers for four years, but chose to move to a family site, Victoria Square Apartments in 2005 to take care of her grandkids and be a part of the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) and later to Sunridge. She built a relationship with CHA’s Case Manager, Tammy Walker and would reminisce about her time as Resident President at Edwin Towers and how she would like the chance to do that again. She was confident her will and determination could make changes within the community, so Lucy decided to run for Resident President at Sunridge.

Lucy came to realize that it was going to take time to build that connection with the residents. At first she struggled to get the residents involved with activities. Lucy pushed to make sure the residents had the resources to help with jobs, job trainings, childcare and education opportunities. Over time, the Sunridge residents began to see she was a woman of her word and she gained their trust and respect. Lucy brought in outside organizations to help residents who needed clothes, food and activities to keep productive.

Lucy continued working hard to make a difference for her residents. The residents were not the only ones that noticed her perseverance, members of her church began to see it as well. A church member working with Former Mayor Anthony Foxx, suggested that he consider nominating Lucy to the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners. He interviewed her and she became an official CHA Board Commissioner in 2011.

Lucy has been a Resident President for 12 years and CHA Board Commissioner for 8 years. Her desire and passion to help residents is as strong as ever. “Nothing makes me happier than to know that I have made things better for somebody else,” said Lucy. CHA is lucky to have such a caring Commissioner and Resident President.

CHA Impact is a bi-monthly newsletter designed to keep you updated with the latest news involving the Charlotte Housing Authority and Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis.