News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016749
ContactJay Fletcher(202) 690-0498
Washington, D.C., Jun 14, 2012 --

@@USDA this week recognized three housing professionals who are being honored for their work to improve rural housing and help residents of rural communities.

“These three outstanding citizens exemplify what it means to care for one’s neighbor,” USDA Rural Housing Service Chief of Staff Cristina Chiappe said during the awards presentation at the annual legislative conference of the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH). “On behalf of the Obama Administration I am proud of their accomplishments and honored to recognize them as the recipients of the 2012 Site Manager of the Year award.”

USDA presents the award annually to an employee in each of three categories: farm labor, senior and multi-family housing. The site managers are recognized for their outstanding work that contributes to the success of housing financed through USDA Rural Development. This year’s awardees have excelled in ensuring that day-to-day operations go smoothly. They often invest a great deal of their own time to provide tenants with a safe and cohesive community.

The winners are:

    • Multi-Family Housing – Laura Nielsen, Ogallala Housing Authority Apartments, Ogallala, Neb., 40 units. Housing Authority board members say they do not know how they would get along without Nielsen’s dedication, drive and commitment. Her caring manner earned her the respect of all tenants. Nelson has managed the complex for 20 years.

    • Senior Housing – Alta Tarter, Village Apartments of St. Joseph I, St. Joseph, Ill., 24 units. Tarter was the primary liaison between tenants and the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission during the renovation of the complex, which was financed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Tarter was praised for her work minimizing tenant disruptions during the renovation and ensuring the process went as smoothly as possible. She also played a key role securing weatherization funds for the renovation.

    • Farm Labor Housing – Maria Ceja, Bear Creek Housing Authority, Planada, Calif., 65 units. Ceja, resident manager since 2010, has worked closely with the Mexican consulate to help tenants with passport issues. She also is being recognized for her work with Merced County officials to educate families about mental health and other family issues.

A panel of CARH and Rural Development representatives made the selections based on tenant satisfaction with the manager, curb appeal of the property, accurate recordkeeping, and actions of the manager consistently above and beyond what is required.

Rural Development administers a national loan portfolio of nearly 450,000 rural rental housing units. In partnership with private-sector and non-profit borrowers, the Agency provides housing to very-low- and low-income rural families, elderly residents and farm workers.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to using Federal resources more efficiently to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).