Schoonover retires from RCHA Board


ELKINS — In January, Commissioner Clif Schoonover retired from the Randolph County Housing Authority Board after nearly 12 years of service.

Schoonover started with the RCHA Board in 2004, filling out the remaining two years of a departed commissioner’s term, then served two five-year terms after that. Schoonover served as the Chair of the Board for the last five years of his term, beginning in 2012.

“In the 12 years that Clif served as a commissioner, the RCHA developed and implemented two strategic plans that reduced the agency’s dependence on federal funding, while increasing services and expanding affordable housing stock for our local residents,” stated Karen Jacobson, RCHA executive director.

“Accessibility in housing has been a priority of mine during my time on the board,” Schoonover said.

The Housing Authority co-sponsored a Housing & Transit study in 2012 that projected a dramatic increase in the proportion of elderly and disabled resident living in Randolph County.

“When we realized how our elderly and disabled populations were growing, we put a priority on developing accessible housing stock,” Jacobson said.

One outcome was the First Ward School Apartments–a re-use of a historic school as affordable, accessible housing for seniors.

“My other passion in regards to the Housing Authority has been for the YouthBuild program,” Schoonover added.

The YouthBuild program serves young people that have dropped out of school and helps them develop job skills, attain their TASC, develop leadership skills and create new purpose for their lives.

The YouthBuild crew also work as Americorps volunteers, contributing significant labor and energy to a variety of local community projects–from repairing the roof of the Phil Gainer Community Center to building projects at Camp Pioneer and moving food at the Catholic Charities Food Bank. The program culminates with job placement or ongoing education for the participants.

A new Board member has been appointed by the Randolph County Commission to serve the RCHA. Leesa Harris is Senior Vice President and Trust Officer with Citizens Bank of West Virginia and serves as the Board Chair of the Elkins Housing Authority.

Harris joins the following members of the RCHA Board of Commissioners: Raymond Godwin (Deacon, St. Brendan’s Church), Dottie Arbogast (Realtor, All Seasons Realty), Lori Chenoweth (Marketing Consultant, LMC & Associates) and Kristie Vandevander, (CPA, Scott & Nypl).