Profile: Michael Lundy
Master of Public Administration, 1987 | Executive Director for the Huntsville (Ala.) Housing Authority
Early Years | Lundy spent part of his childhood in Findlater Gardens, a public housing development in Cincinnati, before his parents were able to save enough money to buy a home in the suburb of College Hill. “Many of the people around me were on fixed incomes, whether it was welfare or disability. When I looked around me and thought about my life at the time, I saw myself with fewer options, although my parents were always good examples, mentors and role models.”
New Attitude | “When we moved to College Hill, I had a significant new awareness of who I was and what my options were because I saw other African-American families, much like my family, doing very well. I realized later that moving to a community that was more integrated and had a lot of home ownership and the traditional family structure provided a lot more opportunities for me.”
The Advantage | After graduating from Knoxville College with a degree in psychology, Lundy worked with the Cincinnati Public Housing Authority as a social worker then moved into admission and property management. “I feel like I’ve had the best of both worlds because I can certainly identify with people who are in a situation in which they feel trapped in public housing. And I think that’s one of the reasons I ended up in this business because I felt like I had a duty to try and do something to change this in a positive way.”
A Different Approach | Lundy worked in housing authorities in Maryland and Pennsylvania before moving to Huntsville in 2004. “When I came on board, the housing authority was in the process of buying 24 houses in the same neighborhood. Typically, these would become part of a housing authority’s rental portfolio. Usually people stay there 10-20 years, so they’re actually no better off because they’re just renting.” Now that he’s in charge, Lundy has changed the process so families can eventually buy the home and participate in a pre-ownership program that teaches them how to read a credit score, reduce their debt, enrich their job opportunities and dress for success.
A Satisfying Position | “This career has been good for me. I want to impact the community so residents will see new opportunities and realize they can be self-sufficient. I want to work with them to become home owners and be successful in their own businesses.”