Major Changes Ahead in HAC Leadership

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Rick Presbrey

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Rick Presbrey

HYANNIS – Major changes are coming to the leadership of the Housing Assistance Corporation.

The non-profit organization that runs the NOAH homeless shelter, develops affordable housing projects and provides education for homeowners will soon see three of its senior leaders retire, including Rick Presbrey, the founder and CEO.

HAC’s Vice President of Administration and Finance Michael Sweeney will be retiring at the end of October and Nancy Davidson, the vice president of program operations, plans to leave early next year.

Presbrey said it is unusual to have this much turnover at one time.

“That’s the result of having no turnover for so long,” he said. “I think the three we are talking about have well over 100 years of cumulative experience working here.”

Presbrey said it is time to find someone to take the reins.

“There are changes coming up in the organization based on our strategic plan and I think that we might be able to find somebody who is better at that kind of thing than I am,” Presbrey said. “Half of me would like to stay and half of me realizes that you have to accept the reality of transitions in life and I’m no kid anymore.”

Presbrey said his skills are providing services to people and that HAC is moving towards the affordable housing and housing planning strategies.

“If you look at what has happened in the time that I have been here there has been a change that isn’t just housing for poor people now,” he said. “It’s people in the lower middle levels that can’t afford housing as well.”

He said there needs to be massive changes on the Cape to make this work.

Presbrey believes he could continue to do the job but thinks the energy of a younger person to work with all 15 towns on the Cape and the Islands is needed.

“There are a lot of highly skilled people who could come in and do this job and do a fabulous job and make this agency even better in the future and that is what we are hoping for,” Presbrey said.

The organization has spent considerable time over the last few years planning a transition to new leadership, including creating a strong board of directors which Presbrey said is pretty strong right now.

Presbrey plans to continue to work with HAC for a year after his replacement is hired to help transition the organization.

One issue Presbrey hopes gets resolved while he is still onboard is moving the NOAH homeless shelter to a new location.

“I’d like to not saddle the new person with that particular task,” he said. “It takes a lot of time working on that and I know a lot of time needs to be spent on the other things we do as well. So if I can that job pretty well done or pretty well on a path to be done I’d be really happy so the new person can come in and look at the job comprehensively rather than to focus a disproportionate amount of time on a single thing.”

When it comes to finding a replacement Presbrey is looking for integrity, commitment and intelligence.

“You need those three things in a person,” he said.

He thinks the next two important attributes are having someone that knows Cape Cod well along with some knowledge of housing.

Presbrey feels intimate knowledge of housing is the least important of those five skills. “I think that can be learned,” he said.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter  

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