OHFA field agent Jack Howell, standing, meets residents and staff members of Northwind Estates in Tulsa.
For more than 24 years, Jack Howell has served his hometown of Tulsa as a field agent for OHFA's Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program. In this role, Jack performs inspections and enrolls participants in the program. Since it opened about a decade ago, Northwind Estates, located at 3355 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tulsa, has become a frequent stop for Jack. Built using OHFA's Affordable Housing Tax Credits, Northwind Estates provides affordable apartments to senior citizens. About half of the community's residents receive Housing Choice Vouchers to help pay their rent.
"I grew up about a half mile from here," said Jack. "I saw the need for the people in the area to have a newer, nicer place to live that was affordable. I was excited to get people in here and keep them housed."
Property manager Trish Gardner and her staff members strive to create a welcoming, safe environment for residents. This includes offering housekeeping tips, conducting quarterly inspections, and daily drives through the property to ensure items are in working order. Such attention to detail means a lot to residents like Luke, Bernard, and Mary.
"I haven't had any problems. It's just like home to me," said Luke, a resident who proudly shared he's approaching his 96th birthday. Luke moved to Northwind Estates 12 years ago and enjoys living in the close-knit community.
Bernard moved to Northwind Estates 7 years ago. "I needed a place for me and my wife since the kids are gone," he shared. "The staff here is wonderful. They do the best possible job they could."
After moving to Tulsa from Detroit, Mary watched the construction of Northwind Estates from the patio of her nearby apartment.
"After they finished building it, I came over and filled out an application," Mary said." I like it here. It's really quiet and I feel safe here. Every time I need something the staff is here to help."
Prior to the opening of Northwind Estates, there was a lack of affordable housing in the immediate area. The need is still so great that the property maintains a lengthy waiting list, Trish shared.
By accepting the Housing Choice Voucher, Northwind Estates fulfills a great need for residents.
"People need a nice, clean, quiet place to live," said Trish. "If we can fill that gap, we are more than happy to do it."
For Jack, letting a resident know that OHFA will be helping them pay rent is a highlight of his day.
"When I sign a contract to help someone with their rent and tell them their portion they will be paying, their face lights up," Jack said.