Black History Month - Trailblazers in Housing and Development

This Black History Month, we continue to highlight Leaders in Housing and Development.

Black History Month traditionally focuses on the achievements of African American leaders of the past. With respect to past leaders, Neighborly Software also wants to recognize leaders making history today in housing policy, advocacy, research and community development.

Tracey Scott has been named CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), one of the nation’s largest public housing agencies.

Scott is currently the interim executive director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and also has held senior roles with the Atlanta Housing Authority. She has over 25 years of leadership experience working to expand access to housing for low-income households across the country.

Scott was nominated by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on March 6 and approved by the CHA board.

CHA provides homes to more than 63,000 households

Demetria Simpson, former CEO of Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA) in Ohio, has accepted a senior leadership role at BGC Advantage, a Louisiana-based affordable housing development, consulting, and management firm.

In her role as vice president of development, Simpson is charged with accelerating the development of high-quality affordable and market-rate housing. She will leverage her 23 years of housing and development expertise to steer the BGC Advantage development team as the company expands its existing Southeast footprint westward.

The move marks Simpson’s return to Mississippi, where she led the redevelopment efforts of affordable housing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina prior to her tenure at LMHA.

Simpson will leverage her experience in all aspects of project development, including due diligence, land closings, permitting, grant writing, RFP submissions, construction administration, and professional oversight. She also has considerable expertise with the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, low-income housing tax credits, and other affordable housing programs and initiatives, including the Federal Home Loan Bank and Community Development Block Grant programs.

BGC Advantage partners with nonprofit and for-profit entities to acquire, create, and rehabilitate affordable and market-rate housing communities. The new position brings an expanded Mississippi presence for the company, which now has offices in Ridgeland and on the Gulf Coast, as well as Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. In the past four years, BGC Advantage has leveraged more than $975 million in funding sources toward community development. It has reinvested more than $46 million in local communities through partner organizations.

Rochelle Beeks took over as president of POAH Communities, the property management company that oversees nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing’s (POAH’s) 11,000-unit national portfolio, earlier this year.

She had served as COO for the company with 465 employees since 2010. In this role, she oversaw its significant growth from managing 50 properties and 6,000 affordable housing units to 115 properties with 11,000 affordable units.

Beeks began her career as an assistant manager for an affordable housing property on Chicago’s South Side and has been promoted through the ranks of property management since joining POAH Communities, formerly Preservation Housing Management. In her first years as regional property supervisor, she cultivated the company’s partnership with the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., which paved the way for POAH’s acquisition of the distressed Grove Parc Apartments and the construction of the redevelopment called Woodlawn Park in Chicago.

Prior to joining POAH Communities in 2006, Beeks worked as a regional property supervisor for AIMCO, managing a diverse portfolio with multiple funding sources, including both affordable and market-rate communities.

Neighborly Software is thankful for all the work, passion and expertise these leaders provide to advance housing and economic opportunities. We believe that “everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community.”

Today, Black leaders are increasingly focused on helping resolve the seemingly intractable problem of fair housing for communities – that is history in the making!