Kimyatta Banks, manager of Evangeline Heights in Phenix City and Legacy Senior Village in Eufaula, was recently honored as Alabama Housing Finance Authority’s 2017 Manager of the Year (MOTY). Now in its twentieth year, the MOTY award recognizes outstanding management staff at AHFA-funded developments.
Banks oversees the daily operations of the two developments’ 96 affordable housing units. Her nomination package was filled with letters from tenants supporting Banks’ nomination and noting her positive attitude and constant smile, fairness, and the way she consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty.
That sentiment was echoed by Brenda Holland, division manager at Olympia Management, who nominated Banks. She said, “Banks is dependable, pays attention to detail, takes great pride in curb appeal, and does an outstanding job managing the developments. She has a wonderful, fun-loving personality, and is very compassionate. She really cares about her community and goes the extra mile to accommodate others.”
Raised in Union Springs, Banks graduated from Central Alabama Community College with an associate degree in general business. She has worked in property management since 2000, and became property manager at Evangeline Heights in 2012 and Legacy Senior Village in 2016.
Banks has 2 daughters and 1 granddaughter, and enjoys writing, baking, grilling, and spending time with her family. When she does have free time, Banks often spends it with residents. She said, “I have this special love for children and the elderly. It’s a big part of why I love being a property manager.”
The children at Evangeline Heights have taken to referring to Banks as “Auntie Kim.” She said, “That makes me feel like I am somebody really important to them. I’ve always wanted to be a role model for kids, and that’s something I feel like has happened since I’ve been at Evangeline Heights. I put them to work from time to time, but it’s just amazing that I have this extended family with the children at my property.”
One way Banks puts the children to work is at Cleanup Day. Throughout Banks’ nomination package, it was noted time and time again how much emphasis she puts on curb appeal and keeping the properties neat and clean. She said, “I’ve always thought if you keep a clean apartment, if you keep your environment clean, it will make you much happier.”
Cleanup Days are held often when the children are out of school, and Banks said, “It gets the kids together too. When you look at the way the world operates, you need to be an influence on children from a young age. Maybe by doing this, it will encourage them to always keep their community clean and help the environment.”
As much as she enjoys working with children, Banks also has a special place in her heart for elderly residents at Legacy Senior Village. She said, “I do tend to spend more time with the elderly because they need me more since lot of them don’t have families. So after hours, I go and spend a little more time with them on a personal level.”
Bingo is the most popular activity Banks hosts at Legacy. She said, “They have bingo in the community, but I hear a lot of residents say, ‘Oh, I don’t feel like going out,’ or, ‘I can’t go out – I don’t have any transportation,’ so I encourage them to participate in bingo here. We do it as a family. It gets the tenants together, and I’m a big fan of fellowship.”
Bingo is just one of the many activities Banks plans for residents at both developments. There are safety meetings, weekly coffee meetings, potluck dinners, holiday parties, birthday parties, and even sewing classes. One of her residents said, “These onsite activities really create a cohesive community with lifelines, especially for lonely and somewhat recluse tenants who lack family connections and social interactions with others. Keeping a close eye on us, Kim has developed and maintained a quiet and safe environment. To many of us, Kim is family.”
Likewise, another resident said, “I remember when I had my car accident, she took my kids and me to the grocery stores so we could have food in my place. That day I was forever grateful for her. There aren’t many managers who would do that for their tenants.”
Moments after winning the 2017 MOTY award, Banks said, “It’s such a great honor.” She also called it an honor to work in affordable housing because, “We’re helping people truly make a home for themselves who wouldn’t be able to if they had to pay conventional rent.” When asked what she finds most rewarding about her job, Banks responded, “Helping people is the greatest reward. It’s something that has been instilled in me through the years. We were put here to help one another, and when I know I’ve truly helped someone, that just makes my day.”