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Housing Authority leader retiring

Jacobson

ELKINS — The Randolph County Housing Authority will soon bid farewell to one of its leaders when executive director Karen Jacobson steps down at the end of 2021.

Jacobson, who has worked for the RCHA for the past 14 years, announced to its Board of Commissioners last week that she would be retiring from her position at the close of the year.

“I have been lucky to work for RCHA with a great team of staff, commissioners and local partners for the past 14 years,” Jacobson said. “We are in a good place for a change in leadership and I’m committed to make sure we have a smooth transition.”

After her retirement as executive director, Jacobson will continue to work part-time for Woodlands Community Lenders and as a consultant.

“Karen has helped the organization increase its capacity to better meet the housing needs in our region,” Board Chair Cindy Jividen said. “We will miss her, but are also excited to engage with job applicants interested in carrying out the strategic plans and mission of the agency.”

During Jacobson’s tenure, the organization’s assets nearly doubled and housing assets owned and managed grew by 120 percent. Housing units built or renovated from 2013 to 2020 included over $9 million in investment in 94 units of affordable housing in Elkins, Davis, Valley Bend and Kingwood.

Special projects under her tenure included the renovation and adaptive re-use of the former First Ward School as well as the renovation of The Delmonte Hotel. Currently the agency is renovating the Allegheny Apartments in Elkins, which will result in 15 affordable units and three storefront spaces.

RCHA has an annual budget of $4 million and employs 21 full-time staff.

In addition to executive duties, Jacobson manages housing development projects and serves on the boards of two nonprofit housing groups. She has an MBA from Boston University and a West Virginia Contractor License in General Building.

The Randolph County Housing Authority is a non-traditional housing authority that provides Section 8 rental assistance to residents in six counties. It also has been sponsoring a YouthBuild program and building affordable housing for the past 25 years. The RCHA has recently added a Housing First homelessness program as well as a job training program in collaboration with local employers.

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