Terrance Gray may not be a name widely known in Bath, but his behind-the-scenes work with Bath Housing Authority is nearly the stuff of legend. A good number of the community’s residents are beneficiaries of his hard work and vision. After forty years of service, Gray is officially retiring from his role as the longest serving Bath Housing Authority Commissioner.
Gray’s undying commitment and deep knowledge were key in effecting notable changes that moved the organization forward in the best of ways.
Bath Housing Authority Commissioners expressed gratitude to Gray at his last board meeting in January. Executive Director Debora Keller said, “You created an organization that was very easy to walk into, and every easy to take to the next level. Your legacy will always live on here.” She highlighted his work on building a culture of resident services, financial stability, and being early adopters of innovative ideas.
Gray joined the board in 1982 and was instrumental in setting up the affiliated Bath Housing Development Corporation in 1984. Because of that group’s real estate development work, the agency has a long history of success in creating and revitalizing housing properties. This led to a foundational security strong enough that Bath Housing Authority was able to transition its public housing portfolio to the Development Corporation through a HUD sanctioned process known as Streamlined Voluntary Conversion.
But for Gray, it was always about better serving residents. Joanne Marco, who oversaw the creation of Bath Housing Authority’s groundbreaking Resident Service Program from 1994 to 2007, and then served as Executive Director for seven years, said, “Because of Terry and the board of Commissioners, the services program was able to go well beyond what we’d planned.” She noted that Gray’s enthusiasm and expertise nurtured strong relationships with St. Joseph’s College (a wellness program), Bath Regional Career and Technical Center (Morse High, homebuilding), and with BIW (renovating donated properties). “If it weren’t for your expertise in the building trades, and your work with the voc school, none of that would have happened in the way it did. Your support of the Bath community, for 40 years, every step of the way, has been so important.”
Gray, whose professional background was in construction, spoke about his history with the organization, and said “it was a lucky stroke” that his interests and involvement in things like the voc school, Bath Rotary, and Bath Housing all intersected the way they did. “I was in a nice situation where I could combine all three, and be at the center of getting those things going. “
He noted that BH programs like Comfortably Home (home modification work that allows people to age in place) and the Development Corporation were on the leading edge. “I’ve always been really proud of that. And I believe we were one of the very first to have a separate development group. I think we were the first and perhaps the only housing authority to act as a developer for a major housing development, namely Seacliff. I was very proud that we were able to do that; what would have been profit for a private developer we were able to put directly toward beneficial housing for people.”
Both programs have won various community service awards, and Comfortably Home is now replicated throughout Maine with support from MaineHousing, and nationally with a new HUD program for older adult home modifications.
Gray expressed the hope that Bath Housing would continue to be financially strong, and be able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
“Where a project might not be economically feasible for a private individual or developers, we can go there when we’re stable; we can work on grants and other funding to help the project and develop more housing for more people, which is, after all, our mission.”
“Your contributions to the housing authority are innumerable, and I can’t thank you enough,” Board Chair Katie Powers told Gray. “You now are the guardian of the institutional history of Bath Housing. We will call on you for that!”
Link to Portland Press Herald article: https://www.pressherald.com/2022/02/15/terrance-gray-retires-from-bath-housing-authority-board-after-40-years/