Jennifer Pryor doesn’t feel she deserves sole recognition for her most recent award.
Instead of her own title scribbled across the plaque, Pryor would rather have a list of every resident’s name at Seymour Village Apartments II scribbled across the honor.
The Brownstown woman recently was named the 2019 Indiana Multi-Family Housing Site Manger of the Year for Elderly Housing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Housing Service and Indiana Rural Development.
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Pryor is in charge of 37 units at Village Apartments II and has worked on the site for the past four years.
“I really love helping people,” she said. “We’re a low-income property, so a lot of our senior citizens here need the rental assistance that we provide to have a home. I love working with everyone here. I have excellent residents that make my job easy and fun. They make me want to come to work.”
Village Apartments II operates under Village Management Co., which is the property management agent for the properties of The Englewood Group.
According to VMC’s website, the company manages more than 60 rental properties across Arizona, Illinois and Indiana. The portfolio consists primarily of affordable rental communities with some market rate rental properties and commercial office space.
“This program is to provide housing for low-income tenants, and what makes it successful are the people working with the tenants,” said Doug Wright, Indiana multi-family housing director for rural development in Indiana.
“Every year, we take nominations for site manager of the year, and we like to recognize them,” he said. “We also give an award for maintenance person and family properties. It gives recognition to the people working directly with the tenants. Without those people on site, the housing can’t be successful. We need people like Jennifer.”
On Friday, a party was held for Pryor with her residents. The tenants helped cooked food on the grill before a buffet lunch was shared.
“They absolutely love her,” regional property manager Lori Martin said. “It was actually unanimous. We have 37 units here, and all 37 were thrilled she was going to be nominated. We do pictures, and then people outside help us, like Section 8, and they send in recommendations for her, too. We then send it to the state. There are other management companies that put in, and it’s pretty competitive. They chose Jennifer. Our property factors in because it’s a Class A property, which qualified us.
“It’s hard to win in elderly because there is a lot of competition,” she said. “Family properties, a lot of people don’t put in because they can’t seem to get people together to nominate. With the other companies, the hardest property to get is an elderly property. For her to win with the competition is a pretty big deal.”
While she spends a lot of time in her office, Pryor spends a lot of time with the residents away from her desk.
“I do a lot of paperwork. I verify a lot of information for people as far as income and assets and things like that,” Pryor said. “There are a lot of maintenance things, like coordinating vendors, making phone calls and doing a budget for the property every year. I work with other managers to get different things done. I supervise the staff of maintenance team, activities coordinator, cleaning crew. I also help with other things like personal problems, like getting a bank account and deciphering paperwork from social services.”
Martin said Pryor goes above and beyond as property manager.
“She is probably one of the kindest people I have ever met,” Martin said. “Nothing truly gets under her skin. The residents come down with their mail and come straight in. The ones that can’t read or write, she reads them their mail. A lot of times, they will ask her to fill out the check and have them sign it.”
Martin said there are 36 properties in Indiana, and Pryor also will help other sites and helps train new employees.
Pryor has worked in property management for 18 years. She moved from California to Indiana four years ago.
Pryor will be honored again in October, as she will be recognized at a meeting with the Affordable Housing Association of Indiana.
“I found out that I had won the award about six weeks ago,” Pryor said. “Lori called me and told me I had won, and I was really excited for the property and my residents. I couldn’t do my job if it wasn’t for the residents I have here.
“I try really hard. I feel like this award shouldn’t be manager of the year, but property of the year. I couldn’t do my job without my residents. They are amazing.”