CIRCLEVILLE — For Becky Hammond the road ahead at Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) is one filled with excitement and work to do.
Hammond was officially hired as the agency’s full time executive director last week after 17 years with the agency. She previously served as deputy director and was helping oversee several programs.
“It feels amazing,” Hammond said of the role. “I’m very happy the board has given me the opportunity and I’m humbled by it.”
Heather Carter, PICCA board president, said they went through the interview process to hire Hammond and she was the clear choice.
“We’re very excited to welcome her to the role of executive director,” Carter said. “She’s been a leader at PICCA with most of the programs and she’ll work with the other leaders on those she hasn’t. She’s been deputy director for several years and has been interim since the end of last year so she’s able to hit the ground running. She’s already made some good changes and we’re excited to see her bring PICCA into the future.”
Hammond, however, doesn’t want to celebrate too long. She said there are several things that need her attention.
“We’ve got some immediate needs that we need to work on like finding my replacement to do the programs that I’ve been doing and we have some other staff hires that we need to have to fill open positions. We also have all of our year end reports that I have to get done before I can start thinking ahead to the future,” Hammond stated.
In addition to staffing, Hammond wants to maintain the momentum on the homeless issue that has received a lot of local attention lately.
“There’s a lot of interest in the homeless issue and I don’t want to lose that momentum with all the people putting in time on the committee,” she added. “Hopefully we’ll get some grants to fill those gaps.”
Hammond said the hardest part of her transition will be training someone to complete the very important community services blog grant.
“It’s a difficult grant to handle and there are a lot of reporting requirements,” Hammond remarked. “That’s how we report our outcomes to the state and federal government on how we’re spending the money. That’s a huge report due this month.”
Hammond said PICCA has challenges to face, but will rise to the occasion.
“The needs are different than they have been,” she said. “Every two years we do a needs assessment and I think this time we’re going to find a lot more housing needs. Not just for homeless but also for affordable housing. Our new community services director Fallon Kingery has a lot of experience in this area and I’m going to take advantage of that. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring some grants in here. It’s getting more and more difficult to find affordable housing for our folks once the’ve completed the programs.”
Hammond is looking forward to that challenge and also asked for the community’s assistance moving forward.
“I certainly appreciate the opportunity and the board’s trust to lead PICCA forward,” Hammond commented. “Once we start our community needs assessment I’d appreciate as much information from the community as possible. That’s the great part of Community Action is that you’ll never see two that are exactly the same. The needs are different depending on where you are. Community Action is great at receiving funding and applying for funding to fill the gaps in their specific communities.”