2010 Leadership in Advocacy Award

November 2, 2010

Vicki Killingsworth accepts the 2010 Leadership in Advocacy Award
Vicki Killingsworth accepts the 2010 Leadership in Advocacy Award

Vicki Killingsworth, MEd, awarded 2010 AUCD Leadership in Advocacy Award

Vicki Killingsworth, MEd, of the University of Southern Mississippu Instutute for Disability Studies, received the 2010 Leadership in Advocacy Award today at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Conference.

This award is presented to an outstanding individual or family member who has exhibited exceptional leadership and self-advocacy skills in the area of developmental disabilities.

From the presentation ceremony:

"Vicki, in her role as the first housing project coordinator for the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi from 1994 to 2004, took on the challenge of establishing an affordable housing program so people with disabilities could live independently in their communities. Vicki was successful in starting the Mississippi Home of Your Own (HOYO) program in 1997 after her research of a model HOYO program in New Hampshire. Starting this initiative at the grass roots level, she had to educate national, state and local funders and service providers of the need to provide support to a population that was often left out of housing opportunities. She created the HOYO Alliance consisting of representative across the state to move housing opportunities forward for Mississippians with disabilities. In recognition of efforts under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development acknowledged the BOYO program as one of the top 100 programs in the country in homeownership in 2000.

Under Vicki, the University established a partnership between USDA Rural Housing and the HOYO program and began receiving and providing referrals for the USDA direct loan program and working with several statewide local field offices. This partner relationship has grown tremendously over the years. Currently, USDA has almost 11 million dollars in their servicing portfolio of loans to HOYO applicants who are located across almost 50 of Mississippi's 82 counties. To date, 384 homes have been purchased through the HOYO program.

This award provides a great opportunity to recognize the significant impact of a program started by Vicki and also recognize her commitment, dedication, perseverance, persistence and leadership within an organization to further housing for low-income families with disabilities in Mississippi communities.
We thank and acknowledge you for your work, Vicki and look forward to many more years of your leadership and participation.  Congratulations, Vicki."



Established in 1971, AUCD is a membership organization comprised of three national networks of interdisciplinary, university-based Centers dedicated to research, education, leadership training, policy development, and direct service for people with disabilities.