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NHA History

The organizational meeting of the Housing Authority of the city of Newberry was held on October 17, 1968. John F. Clarkson was the chair, and Dr. J.E. Grant was vice chairman; Keitt Purcell, Clarence A. Chick, and W.W. Hursey were commissioners. C.A. Shealy was the mayor & K. W. Riebe was City Manager. Annelle Davis served as the first Executive Director.

A cooperation agreement was signed with the City of Newberry, and an application for 250 Public Housing units was submitted to the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).

Construction of 200 Public Housing units was dedicated and named for Dr. Julian E. Grant in June of 1974. The 200 units at this time were ready for occupancy. Senior sewing group made lap robes for the nursing home.

Mrs. Davis retired and was replaced by Thomas M. Halfacre in 1975 to serve as Executive Director.

Ms. Clara D. Wertz joined the board on October 15, 1975.

In 1979, HUD approached NHA in reference to an acquisition and substantial rehab of 60 existing units known as Bethlehem Community Homes, and it was negotiated with the new construction of 55 new units.

In 1982, the rehab and new construction was completed. The 55 new units were dedicated to Dr. E. Gordon Able, a longtime friend and colleague of Dr. Julian E. Grant.

In 1983, Gleams Human Resources of Greenwood approached the Authority needing office space to serve the Newberry County residents. The Bethlehem Homes Community Center office was leased at no charge.

The Grant Community Center housed a satellite office for the Newberry County Council on Aging for Senior Citizens and the Newberry County Literacy Program. The resident children were provided with a full-time Recreation Director during the summer months.

In 1984, Tom Halfacre retired and Mary Jane Smith was appointed the third Executive Director.

In 1985, HUD awarded 50 Section 8 Certificates to the Newberry Housing Authority. The program now assists 239 families.

In 1992, NHA and Triangle Daycare Center went into a cooperation agreement and formed Triangle Daycare Center # 2. In this agreement, Triangle Daycare opened another center in the E. Gordon Able Community Center with the requirement that NHA residents would be served first and given a reduced rate for their daycare needs.

In 2003, the dedication of the Clara D. Wertz Activity Center was held. This center was constructed using Capital Fund Grant money. Residents are offered classes and activities in this center, such as C. N. A. classes, Computer Classes, and other adult literacy programs.

In 2001, two new positions were created, Community Service Co-coordinator and Resident Co-coordinator. NHA has hosted the State Spelling Bees, two state Track & Field meets for residents, and Commodities Distribution in cooperation with the Harvest Hope Food Bank on a bi-monthly basis. Two resident children have played in the National Football Bowl games. One resident who grew up here is now playing professional baseball with the Cincinnati Reds organization, and another now plays Professional Football, while others have received their master's degrees.

A quarter-mile walking track was provided for the use of all residents.

On May 20, 2004, the NHA held a formal opening for "Vincent Place Apartments, "constructed under agency 501C3, Affordable Housing Community Services. Vincent Place consists of 12 one-bedroom units for clients recommended to the Housing Authority by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

After serving the NHA since September of 1974, Mary Jane Smith retired, and Jan B. Piersol became the Executive Director from January 1, 2004, until 2020. During her tenure, the agency was heavily active in the Carolinas Council of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, SERC-NAHRO, and conducted two Halls of Fame inductions for former residents in 2016 and 2018. Regina L. Koon served the authority as Executive Director from 2020 until her retirement in 2023. Under Ms. Koon's leadership, the agency was awarded 40 Mainstream vouchers to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities.

Jessica M. Holcomb has served the authority as Executive Director since October 17, 2023.

Executive Directors:

  • Annelle Davis 1968 - 1975
  • Thomas M. Halfacre 1975 - 1984
  • Mary Jane Smith 1984 - 2003
  • Jan B. Piersol 2004 - 2020
  • Regina L. Koon 2020 - 2023
  • Jessica M. Holcomb 2023 - Present