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South Portland Housing Authority picks new director

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South Portland Housing Authority picks new director

SOUTH PORTLAND — Michael G. Hulsey has been chosen as the South Portland Housing Authority's new executive director.

The appointment comes at a time when housing services are increasingly in demand because of the economic downturn and as the agency looks to build new affordable housing and streamlined services.

Hulsey, a South Portland resident, will replace Elaine Neelon, who has worked for SPHA for 26 years, including eight as executive director.

As chief finance officer for Westbrook Housing, Hulsey is responsible for finances and technology for an agency that manages 475 housing units and 805 Section 8 vouchers. In South Portland, he will oversee an agency that manages 600 housing units and 400 Section 8 vouchers.

Westbrook Housing Executive Director John Gallagher said Hulsey's experience should allow Hulsey to step easily into his new responsibilities.

"South Portland should be very happy with their choice," Gallagher said. "It's definitely a loss for Westbrook."

In addition to working as Westbrook Housing's CFO since 2001, Hulsey, who has an accounting degree from Husson College and was previously a partner in an accounting firm, is a member of several accounting and affordable housing organizations.

The SPHA Board of Commissioners selected Hulsey from a field of 26 applicants and was assisted by Maine Public Housing directors and Rick Whiting, executive director of the Auburn Housing Authority. Candidates were evaluated on their experience, ability to develop new housing and ability to become someone who could be the face of the SPHA in the community. 

Kevin Glynn, SPHA chairman, said Hulsey, who lives on Higgins Lane, will be able to further the city's goal of building affordable housing developments by using his community connections. SPHA's long-range plan indicates that creating new affordable housing opportunities for elderly and low-income residents is a top priority. He said Westbrook is leading the charge statewide for developing new affordable housing.

"Westbrook has just been going gangbusters with developing more affordable housing opportunities," Glynn said. "We want that here in South Portland."

Glynn said SPHA is also looking to streamline assistance for residents, who have to apply for general assistance at the city's welfare office and go through a similar process for housing assistance. Encouraging more cooperation between the city and housing authority will allow easier access for needy residents. 

"Working with the city, (Westbrook) has made it one-stop shopping," Glynn said. 

Randy Billings cab be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.