Noreen Michael has spent 30 years in education and health administration, currently as the director of the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center at the University of the Virgin Islands. Ms. Michael’s research focuses on the impact of social disparities, including housing disparities, on public health outcomes. She holds a Ph.D in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As a 37-year educator and principal in St. Croix’s public schools, Vaughn Hewitt witnessed the role of housing on the quality of life of his students, many of whom lived in public housing that had deteriorated, exposing them to unhealthy conditions and crime. Now, as the director of Early Head Start on his native island, Mr. Hewitt is a powerful advocate for the transformation of VIHA’s public housing portfolio so that future generations can enjoy a better standard of living.
A licensed professional social worker with over 30 years experience in the non-profit and government social services field, as Commissioner Ms. Causey-Gomez oversees the Territory’s Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, which includes over 80 programs for a life span. This makes her the ideal partner to help VIHA nurture its youngest and oldest residents and assist those with disabilities.
Dina Perry-Malone brings more than 20 years’ experience to the board in banking, financial marketing and insurance. As the USVI Vice President of FirstBank St. Thomas, she is a valuable asset to assure VIHA’s financial transactions and partnerships go smoothly.
As the executive director of the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, Daryl Griffith brings critical finance expertise to the board to see project plans to fruition. His past roles have included managerial and consultative positions with SunTrust Bank, Charles Schwab and GunnAllen Financial. He earned his MBA from University of Central Florida College of Business.
Robert Graham was appointed executive director of VIHA in 2008 to help guide the organization from receivership to a position of local accountability and control. Previously, Mr. Graham directed the Newark Housing Authority and earned a reputation for helping troubled housing authorities get back on track. VIHA today is on a solid footing thanks to his leadership, able to attract the business partners needed to redevelop its entire public housing portfolio.
Ms. Gumbs is a resident of VIHA’s Louis E. Brown III community on St. Croix. A proud mother of six, she used VIHA’s Section 3 program to launch a career in construction. She now works for one of the Territory’ preeminent builders, J. Benton Construction.
A resident council member and commissioner, Simba Abiff believes in the power of resident services, especially vocational services, to help young people find a way forward. “Young people need to see there is a path for them to become integrated members of society,” says Abiff, a Virgin Islands police officer living at Oswald Harris Court. “I didn’t pay attention in school and left in 11th. grade. With my mother pushing me, I got my GED and went to college.”