Vicksburg woman appointed to housing authority New board member grew up in public housing, adds female ‘perspective’

Published 12:44 am Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Vicksburg woman who spent her early childhood in public housing has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Vicksburg Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday approved the appointment of Fermika Smith to replace Jay Kilroy, who resigned from the housing authority board in June.

Smith lived in the Elizabeth Circle area of the VHA’s Rolling Acres development until she was 3 years old, when her family moved to their own home.

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“I felt the fact that she lived in public housing as a child would bring some insight to the board that none of the other members had,” said board chairman Christopher Barnett, who nominated her for the seat. “She is very active in the community. I believe she is a very good choice.”

Mayor Paul Winfield said he wanted to see a woman on the VHA board to give it another perspective when dealing with public housing issues.

“A lot of the people who live in public housing are single mothers,” he said. “We need someone on the board to present that perspective of the plight of single mothers.”

Smith is a graduate of Vicksburg High School and Alcorn State University, and works in the billing office of Good Samaritan Physical Therapy. She is involved in community work as a member of the Vicksburg area chapter alumni of Delta Sigma Beta Sorority, and with her husband, Christopher, heads the voter registration ministry at Greater Grove Street Baptist Church. She is also a volunteer at the Mountain of Faith Women’s and Children’s Center.

“I’m very excited to be named to the board, and I’m looking forward to attending my first meeting,” Smith said.

Kilroy was one of four Vicksburg Housing Authority commissioners appointed in 2009 in the wake of a drug scandal that led to the firing of then-VHA executive director James Stirgus Sr. in May 2009.