SRHA to celebrate 40 years

Published 9:18 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority will celebrate its 40th anniversary this month with awards and a program at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn.

The Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority will gather later this month to celebrate its 40th anniversary and honor a man who helped get it started.

The April 30 event at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn will begin with a 6 p.m. cocktail hour. The program and dinner will last from 7 to 8:30 p.m., after which the celebration will continue with dancing by the Slapwater band.

The authority is gathering to celebrate its successes, but also to honor a special person in its history.

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“This year, we’d like to pay a tribute to George Birdsong,” said Clarissa McAdoo, the executive director of the authority. “He was the pioneer behind the establishment of the SRHA.”

The authority provides low-cost housing in a number of communities in downtown Suffolk, and also administers the Section 8 housing program.

According to McAdoo, Birdsong jump-started the discussion on the affordable housing need in the city.

“He was able to get the City Council and other leaders of the city to convene and discuss those types of issues,” McAdoo said. “He steered and led that formation.”

After the authority was established, Birdsong was its chairman for 18 years.

But it’s not just Birdsong the event will be honoring. The authority also will honor current and former residents who have achieved in the areas of education, employment and homeownership.

“It will be those individuals who have accomplished through our resident programs, received housing assistance and who have gone on and done some good things,” McAdoo said.

The authority also will honor one of its Section 8 landlords, Howard Benton.

“As a Section 8 landlord, he’s been wonderful to work with,” McAdoo said. “He’s been an outstanding property owner.”

A video presentation during the event will highlight the authority’s successes over the years, McAdoo said.

Individual tickets to the event are $50, and other sponsorship levels are available. The proceeds will go to defray the cost of the event, for which no government money has been used, McAdoo said.

For more information, contact Mari Cummings at