Mobile Housing Board

Despite plans for multimillion-dollar redevelopment projects, the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners has been beset by financial shortcomings and dilapidating infrastructure. From reprimands from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a lawsuit from former employees to the recent resignations of a longtime commissioner and executive director, the board has continued with plans to update its affordable housing stock.

Mobile Housing Board

Public housing shortage amplified while MHB evolves

With two of its largest and oldest assets vacant and awaiting demolition, the Mobile Housing Board finds itself at a crossroads. The board of commissioners and the public housing agency it oversees must find a way to make existing conditions better for current residents, while also committing resources to a $750 million renovation of two entire sections of its decades-old housing stock. Additionally, MHB is working through a backlog of thousands on its waiting lists — which some have attributed to an affordable housing shortage — and is dealing with an occupancy of only 50 percent at two of...

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MHB makes more changes to its nonprofit arm

The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners on Monday, Feb.13 took another step in the overhaul of its troubled nonprofit arm, Mobile Development Enterprises, by agreeing to work within the merit system to begin to merge the two entities. The first step for commissioners was a unanimous vote to bring MDE V.P. of Asset Management and Compliance Matthew McClammey and two executives that report to him under the MHB umbrella through the Mobile County Personnel Board. It was the most logical first step, Commissioner Reid Cummings said, because MDE has no assets. “The only assets they have they get from the housing board,” he said. READ OUR ONGOING SERIES OF STORIES ON THE MOBILE HOUSING BOARD The board discussed the ease at which they might be able to fold other positions in under MHB and the merit system. Attorney Raymond Bell said 60 percent of the merge would be “easy.” “The others would require asking the personnel board to create a position,” he said. “Another issue could be with the pay range … ” Commissioners discussed holding a work session with the personnel board to help them create needed positions that may not exist in other jurisdictions where the merit system is in place. Before MDE became the behemoth it is now with designs on development, it began as a small nonprofit created to secure grant funding for the Clinton...

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Mobile Housing Board names interim director

The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners on Wednesday named an interim leader for the authority, as former Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn will leave a month earlier than expected. After a somewhat brief executive session, the board unanimously picked Senior Vice President and CFO Lori Shackelford as interim executive director. Board Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway said Shackelford was chosen because she worked closely with Vaughn, is respected by the employees and has a “long-term history” with the authority. “She’s the perfect fit,” Pettway said. READ OUR ONGOING SERIES OF STORIES ON THE MOBILE HOUSING BOARD When he announced his resignation earlier...

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Executive director out at Mobile Housing Board

Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn officially announced to commissioners Wednesday during a monthly meeting that he would be stepping down, effective Feb. 28, ending his seven-year tenure as head of the city’s public housing authority. Following the meeting, Vaughn said he had been thinking about resigning over the last 90 days and felt the time was right. “The executive director job is extremely demanding,” he said. “At some point you wonder if it’s time … for a fresh start.” During Vaughn’s time as executive director, the authority commenced a major redevelopment plan and encouraged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to convert its entire housing stock to the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. The move to RAD could jeopardize some current MHB employees, but would allow the board to update its aging housing by teaming up with private developers. The board saw challenging times under Vaughn’s direction as well, and his departure comes at a time of intense scrutiny. In 2016, HUD’s Office of Inspector General released a scathing report challenging the entity’s relationship with its nonprofit arm, Mobile Development Enterprises (MDE), and accusing MHB of mismanagement of funds. Vaughn said the OIG report had nothing to do with his resignation. “It’s time for new opportunities for me,” he said. READ OUR ONGOING SERIES OF STORIES ON THE MOBILE HOUSING BOARD Although Vaughn said he wants...

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Vaughn out at Mobile Housing Board

Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn officially announced to commissioners Wednesday during a monthly meeting that he would be stepping down, effective Feb. 28, ending his seven-year tenure at the head of the city’s public housing authority. Following the meeting, Vaughn said he had been thinking about resigning over the last 90 days and felt like the time was right. “The executive director job is extremely demanding,” he said. “At some point you wonder if it’s time … for a fresh start.” During Vaughn’s time as executive director the authority has moved forward with a major redevelopment plan and gotten permission from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to convert all of its housing to the Rental Assistance Demonstration. The move to RAD could jeopardize some current MHB employees, but would allow the board to update its aging housing stock by teaming up with private developers. The board has seen some challenging times under Vaughn’s direction as well, and his departure comes at a time of intense scrutiny. Earlier this year, HUD’s Office of Inspector General released a scathing report challenging the entity’s relationship with its nonprofit arm, Mobile Development Enterprises, and accusing it of mismanagement of funds. Vaughn said the OIG report had nothing to do with this resignation. “It’s time for new opportunities for me,” he said. READ OUR ONGOING SERIES OF STORIES ON...

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About The Author

Dale Liesch

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Dale Liesch has been a reporter at Lagniappe since February 2014. He covers all aspects of the city of Mobile, including the mayor, city council, the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners, GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico and others. He studied journalism at The University of Alabama and actually graduated in 2007. He came to Lagniappe, after several years in the newspaper industry. He achieved the position of news editor at The Alexander City Outlook before moving to Virginia and then subsequently moving back a few years later. He has a number of Alabama and Virginia Press association awards to his name. He grew up in the wilderness of Baldwin County, among several different varieties of animals including: dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, a horse and an angry goat. He now lives in Midtown Mobile with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Joan. The family currently has no goats, angry or otherwise, but is ruled by the whims of two very energetic dogs.

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