WILLIAMSBURG — A change in leadership is underway at the Park Drive Villa headquarters of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation — with Tracy Crowder set to take over as the organization’s executive director next month.
Originally from Inkerman, Crowder is no stranger to the place, having been employed for several years as a personal support worker at the Villa until the early 2000s. She’ll work with retiring Executive Director Janet Levere through a transition period in April.
“The last 10 years have been busy but a good busy!” exclaimed Levere, who introduced her successor at a March 23 press conference.
Levere is turning over the reins after 26 years with the organization that oversees 70 subsidized and affordable housing units with 90 residents in the Williamsburg area — at Park Drive Villa, Tolley Place, and a pair of Community Living group homes at either end of the hamlet.
Funded on the housing side through Cornwall Area Housing (on behalf of the United Counties of SDG), the non-profit entity also delivers a slew of assisted living and supportive programs, funded by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, to help local seniors stay in their homes longer. Covering a territory that includes much of Dundas County and extending into a large swath around Kemptville, those offerings run the gamut from foot care to coordinating “handi helper” summer student chores around the house, to transportation services.
(As of April 1, Williamsburg Non-profit Housing also assumes responsibility for the Morrisburg-based Meals on Wheels program, which will continue to employ the same volunteers and facilities in that village. Levere explained the mounting red tape and insurance and reporting requirements simply became too much for that volunteer board after their successful 40-year run.)
Levere began her tenure as head of the Corporation’s services component based out of the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre (originally known as the Park Lane Seniors’ Support Centre). Responsibility for the housing component was added to her plate a decade ago, following the retirement of Barb Dalrymple, effectively merging both mandates under one executive directorship.
The incoming executive director is on the cusp of leading an organization with an annual budget of $2.8-million that also relies heavily on a base of volunteers who contribute a combined 6,000 to 7,000 hours to the operation each year. “When I saw the position available I thought, I want to go back there, it was a great place to work… I like the prospect of continuing to grow with seniors,” enthused Crowder, adding she brings an approach of “thinking outside the box.”
The Cornwall resident was one of 42 applicants for the position, landing the job at the conclusion of the board’s “intensive” search process, said Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing board of directors Chair Duane Locke. “A lot of the people weren’t quite what we were looking for,” acknowledged Locke.
Crowder emerged as the successful applicant after the field was narrowed to four interviewees.
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