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The District of Columbia Housing Authority has a new director of Resident Services.

Larry Williams, originally from Illinois, spent the last eight years as the chief executive officer of the Freeport Housing Authority. But prior to that, he was a board member and a customer of the agency.

“That experience gives me a very unique experience to draw on to do that day-to-day work that I do,” said Williams. “I can quickly assess a situation as a board member, a resident, and a practitioner and think about what I would like to see in all three positions.”

While Williams has run an agency and can wear many hats, he said that the work he is most proud of aligns well with the Office of Resident Services.

“My focus was on workforce development and how do you help people get on the pathway out of poverty,” he said.

In Freeport, he developed a Workforce Development Institute for residents to brush up on their soft skills, such as communication and timeliness. The eight-week course included classes on teamwork, critical thinking, as well as reading and math. He also started Empowerment Centers that host programs that better customers.

“I hope to make the institutes a best practice and national model. I hear employers talk about a lack of soft skills, but hear customers talk about the lack of opportunity,” he said. “I hope to bridge the relationship with the private sector and help them realize that housing authorities could be an untapped market for them.”

This focus would be applied to DCHA’s Section 3 program which requires agency contractors to provide training and employment opportunities to customers. The programming at the Southwest Family Enhancement and Career Center also would see changes, he said.

“I want to ensure we are addressing their needs in terms of workforce development and economic opportunity,” Williams said. 

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Larry Williams
Last modified: 1/23/2018 12:01:07 PM