HAZARD — Buckhorn resident Sharon Combs was awarded PRAC Maintenance Person of the Year at the 2017 Housing Management Conference in Louisville on April 27.
The awards are presented each year by the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA), which includes more than 500 management companies and housing authorities in the Southeast region of the United States, to those who promote a standard of excellence in the management of affordable multifamily housing. The event is attended by thousands of people from all over the region.
Combs, a member of the property management team at Kentucky River Community Care (KRCC) since 2011, found the award to be a complete surprise.
“It was very much unexpected, but very much appreciated,” Combs said, smiling while holding the heavy award outside of a KRCC office in Jackson.
“I really want our properties to succeed, and this is part of it,” she added.
As property manager and maintenance supervisor, Combs oversees maintenance for KRCC’s properties in Lee, Wolfe, Owsley, Breathitt, Perry, Letcher, and Knott counties, which includes 254 rental units. She is responsible for ensuring quality standards are met in each apartment, managing the maintenance for all units, and more.
“I have a lot of appreciation for what she does. I don’t think our maintenance would be what it is without her,” said Angela Crase, Combs’s supervisor at KRCC and the person who nominated her for the award.
“We always get good scores on our inspections, and I think that’s all due to her hard work and dedication,” she continued. “She really cares about what she does.”
In fact, this year, under Combs’s leadership, KRCC’s Sun Valley Apartments – a handicapped housing apartment community – received a score of 99 out of 100 in its latest Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspection. According to Crase, that is the highest score ever received for those apartments.
And it’s clear that it’s not just the property Combs cares for – she also cares about the people living there.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people really are in need of housing,” Combs said. “I never realized how many people struggle, who are doubled up with family with two or three kids, or living in their car. It’s sad.”
“We have a lot of tenants who were in very desperate need,” she explained. “They appreciate their home, and that makes you feel so good about being able to go in and do something to improve their lives.”
For Combs, who said she learned many of her maintenance skills from her father, her rise to a leadership role at KRCC has been through sheer willpower and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And now she has the hardware to prove it.
“Sharon has the ability to blend compassion, tenacity, persistence, and a keen eye for perfection. She understands and cares about her tenants,” said Sharon Hendrickson, KRCC’s chief asset officer, who heads the agency’s housing division. “Long story short, she gets the job done and does it well. I’m proud of her accomplishments, and I’m proud to say she’s on my team!”
For more information on KRCC’s housing programs, please contact Angela Crase about the agency’s rental properties at 606-666-7591, ext. 1909, or call Haven House Homeless Shelter at 606-666-7591, ext. 1401.
Mindy Miller is a multimedia writer with Kentucky River Community Care.