LORAIN – The Lorain County Community Action Agency is making some changes to help steer the agency and the people it serves in the right direction, according to executive director William Locke.
The agency, which came under fire in 2006 after accusations of inflating enrollment numbers and misusing grant money, hopes some new services will enhance its operational effectiveness and efficiency.
“We`re just attempting to turn the agency around,” Locke said. “We want to make it more equipped to better service the community.”
Susan Kaczay was recently promoted as the agency`s Head Start director and is responsible for directing the agency`s largest program, which serves about 1,100 preschoolers throughout the county.
Kaczay had been director of strategic and organizational development for the agency and was chosen from among 50 applicants. She replaces former Head Start director Selina Gaddis, who stepped down to pursue another job, Locke said.
Jacqueline Boehnlein will replace Kaczay as the agency`s director of strategic and organizational development.
In an attempt to address the needs of low-and-moderate-income-residents and foreclosure issues throughout the county, the agency developed a new Housing Department that will be led by Diana Marrero-Pinto.
Locke said Marrero-Pinto will be in charge of providing such things as pre-and-post-purchasing counseling, credit clinics and homebuyer education classes.
“It`s about making a smarter consumer,” Locke said. “The reason a lot of these foreclosures come about is because people don`t know what they`re getting into when they buy a house.”
The agency has also replaced the former Housing and Energy Service Department with its Energy Conservation and Emergency Service Department, which assists individuals with energy conservation and provides emergency assistance to prevent disconnections stemming from late payments.
Lastly, the agency created a new Economic Development Department that will work to develop employment opportunities and economic ventures for the agency. A director should be hired during the first quarter of 2008, according to Locke.
Throughout the many changes, no jobs were eliminated, and no additional funding will be necessary, Locke said.
“We always could use additional funding to address additional problems,” he said. “We`re just expanding the services we offer with the money we have.”
Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.