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Vicky Dayton of Housing Opportunities Inc. named Affordable Housing Trail Blazer
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Vicky Dayton, executive director of Housing Opportunities Inc., accepts an Ad Astra Award at the Kansas Housing Conference in Topeka. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO


Vicky Dayton, the driving force behind Housing Opportunities Inc. since it started in Great Bend in 1996, recently received the Kansas Housing Conference’s 2010 Affordable Housing Trail Blazer (Rural) Award, one of its Ad Astra awards.

Housing Opportunities Inc. is a Community Housing Development Organization dedicated to providing affordable owner and renter-occupied housing in Barton, Pawnee and Rice counties. To date, HOI has created 134 new rental housing units for seniors and families, developed 57 new homes for families through the USDA Rural Development’s Mutual Self Help Housing Program and assisted first-time homebuyers with downpayment assistance from Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program.

More projects are lined up for the next year two years, Dayton said. HOI is building six duplexes for senior citizens in Larned. After that, HOI plans to build six rent-to-own homes and two duplexes in Lyons before starting new projects in Great Bend.

The awards from the Kansas Housing Conference recognized individuals who demonstrate exemplary leadership in responding to affordable housing and community development needs throughout the state. Receiving the award, Dayton had many other people to thank for the work done since HOI started in 1996. State officials note Dayton has also served on FHLBank’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council since 2004.

"Thank you to Chris Imming and Midwest Housing Equity Group for the nomination. Of course no one achieves success by themselves; there are always partners in the process. I would like to thank HOI’s board of directors for their years of loyal service as well as our talented staff, Mesner Development Company, Midwest Housing Equity Group, our investors, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank and of course our many clients."

As part of her award, Dayton received $500 to donate to the charity of her choice. She chose Housing Opportunities Inc.

"My passion really is working with the seniors," she said. "It is such an honor to serve them. I can work with people who have worked so hard all their lives." With HOI assistance, they can find affordable, energy effecient and handicap accessible housing.

The state organization noted that Dayton has accessed the following funding sources in support of HOI’s mission to improve housing opportunities in central Kansas:

• Applied for and received more than $12 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the State of Kansas for the development of 11 senior affordable housing projects located in Ellinwood, Lamed, Great Bend and Hoisington.

• Applied for and received $683,743 in FHLBank AHP Funds for the development of eight senior LIHTC projects and one single family rent-to-own property.

• Applied for and received more $3 million in HOME Investment Partnership Funds for the development of nine senior LIHTC projects and one single family rent-to-own property.

• Applied for and awarded three USDA Mutual Self-Help Grants for $904,600 building 57 homes between 2000 and 2006 in Barton and Pawnee Counties representing an additional $5,350,000 in property valuation.

• Applied for and received $1,095,348 in additional grant awards for operations, training, and project development.

• Applied for and received a $300,000 Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Program award for the purchase of 30 single family lots and the development of a new street for those lots.

Presented annually at the Kansas Housing Conference, the Ad Astra Awards celebrate housing advocates who consistently make a positive impact on their communities and the best practices of affordable housing developers, public housing authorities, community service organizations and others. Other award categories include Special Achievement in Affordable Housing Development, Excellence in Partnership and Innovation in Housing and Community Development. This year, the conference also presented a Special Recognition Award for Community Revitalization.

For more information on Housing Opportunities Inc., contact Dayton at 620-792-3299.