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Barbara Butts, Fairhope

Barbara Butts, manager of Shellbrooke Pointe Apartments in Fairhope, was recently honored as AHFA’s 2018 Manager of the Year (MOTY). Now in its 21st year, the MOTY award recognizes outstanding management staff at AHFA-funded developments.

Butts oversees the daily operations of the development’s 96 affordable housing units. Her nomination package, by Gateway Management Company, includes 32 letters from residents, coworkers, city officials, service agencies, and community leaders praising Butts’ character and reputation.

Cindy Hamrick, executive director of the Foley Housing Authority, wrote, “Having worked with Barbara since 2009 in assisting families with their housing needs, it quickly became abundantly obvious that she is not only very professional and knowledgeable in her field, but also is genuine in dealing with her residents. The residents who she serves have no doubt of Barbara’s sincerity and genuine intentions to help them in any way possible.”

Butts loves her job, and it shows in the care and commitment that she puts into Shellbrooke’s operations and the families that call it home. She said, “The best part of my job is the joy I experience in seeing a family’s faces light up when I hand them their keys and say, ’Welcome Home! You are now a part of the Shellbrooke family!’ I enjoy watching them continue to grow and take pride in their community.”

With 30 years of property management experience, the last 11 of which have been spent as the only manager to oversee Shellbrooke Pointe, Butts makes running an affordable housing development look easy. Shellbrooke has an exceptionally low turnover rate of 20 percent and maintains a high occupancy. The development is always well maintained and has excellent curb appeal. Butts successfully maintains accurate and complete records and has received many compliance and resident service awards from Gateway Management.

She regularly shares her skills and talent by training new managers at other properties throughout Alabama.

“We have numerous successful property managers because they have been mentored by Barbara and have learned not only what to do to follow policy, but why things are done a certain way,” said Patty Pitts, Gateway’s regional vice president.

If you ask Butts the secrets of Shellbrooke’s success, all she talks about is the children. “I look at all these kids that are there in affordable housing, and I want the best for them for their future. The kids are the most important thing to me.”

She encourages residents each year to apply for the Alabama Affordable Housing Association’s resident scholarship program. Every year for the past four years, one or more Shellbrooke family members have received scholarships.

As an incentive, AAHA offers a $250 cash award to property managers who refer an applicant that is selected to receive a scholarship. However, Butts always donates the money back to AAHA to be used for more scholarships—more than $2,000 in the past two years.