May 2013 - This (FHA) was a great place for me to get back on my feet. I have lived in public and private sector housing and in other states and this living experience has been one of the best and most helpful to my family. Thank you! -Resident
1/25/13 - "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It was WONDERFUL to be able to use the Monroe Center tonight! Everything was set up and arranged perfectly that it was so easy for me to just show up and plug in. I should have known that you would take such good care of us- I remember first hand what great people work at HACF!" Stephanie Meyers Helms, Freeport School District
7/18/12 – “I am glad to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the excellent, proactive work you are doing for the residents of your housing units. I have seen quite a few Directors come and go during my tenure as Township Supervisor and I can honestly say that none have made such an effort to seek out programs to enhance the lives of the residents, nor has anyone been as collaborative with the work of other organizations as you have been already.” Sheila Hooper, Freeport Township Supervisor
6/8/12 – “Just wanted to let everyone know that yesterday's luncheon was awesome!!!! A lot of work was put in by all the staff and it was very well organized and everything was great! Appreciate all you guys do for the Freeport Community!!!!” – Melodie Smith, Floor Covering Plus
6/8/12 - "It's great to be involved in it (scholarship)" said Flynn. "To me, what's going on in the FHA is an uplifting experience. It affects the whole community. It's humbling to have a scholarship named after me." -Dr. Peter Flynn, retired Freeport School District Superintendent
6/8/12 – “Class event this afternoon; you have raised the bar! Congrats on you and your family members’ decision to return to school. You are definitely a leader that walks the talk, leading by example. Thanks for setting the bar for today’s current and emerging community leaders; keep on doing all the great things you are doing. Vision is a gift!” -Dave Young, NIDA
4/13/12 – “Just want to say that I appreciate what a great job you are doing and the stability that you have brought to FHA after the previous several years of upheaval. Keep up the good work!!!” – Steve Meiss, Director Illinois Office of Public Housing, U.S. Dept. of HUD
4/12/12 - “When you get the right people in leadership positions, the right things can happen.” City of Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp
4/4/12 “We offer our congratulations to Larry Williams, not just for his recent honor but for his hard work to help turn around public housing in Freeport. Williams, the executive director of the Freeport Housing Authority (FHA), was presented the Rising Star Award at the annual Freeport Area Chamber of Commerce dinner on Thursday night. This was the first year for the award, which Chamber Executive Director Kim Grimes said “recognizes a younger professional doing a good job not only at work, but also as a volunteer in the community.”
When Williams first took over the helm of the FHA a few years ago, we hounded the organization for an overall poor condition of the buildings. We also expressed our concern over rising crime around public housing. Williams didn’t shy away, he answered our questions and not only promised solutions, but actually followed through on those promises. The state of the public housing in Freeport has changed a lot on just a few years.
FHA addressed security concerns with the addition of cameras and more people watching over the sites. We saw criminal incidents that once seemed like daily occurrences slowly fade from the police reports. And if you ask FHA staff and residents, it wasn’t the cameras that made the area safe, it was pride.
The FHA has followed the simple model that if you make someone proud of their home and their life, they will take care of it, they will strive to make it better.
The Mary Hosmer and Brewster apartment buildings have been given a face-lift with new carpet and paint. If you haven’t seen the inside of those buildings lately, it looks different — it feels different. Over at the Westview homes, a community initiative was put together with a lot of help to build a new playground at the site.
But that wasn’t enough.
Many times when Williams has talked to the J-S, he has mentioned a philosophy of giving “a hand up, not a hand out.” And you see that philosophy throughout the FHA really kicking in over the last year. The addition of community computer labs gives all Freeport residents access, not only to computers but to the education to use those computers (coupled with the Freeport Public Library labs and classes, opportunity is everywhere).
The FHA has also started other educational classes. In Saturday’s paper, we ran a story about one of those classes — 34 residents graduated from a course on real estate management.
The people of the FHA have pride in their work, and are building pride in the people they serve.
Pride is infections, and in the every corner of this community you can feel it bubbling up. It’s time for all of us to join in.” – Journal-Standard Editorial