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Housing Authority of Racine County announces new executive director

Housing Authority of Racine County announces new executive director

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RACINE — The Housing Authority of Racine County Board of Commissioners announced the appointment of Larissa Seward as HARC’s new executive director, effective Nov. 1. Seward will take over leadership of the agency, replacing Linda Ring-Weber who retired on Sept. 30.

According to a press release, Seward started her career in affordable housing in February 2007 at the Mason County Illinois Housing Authority, where she was trained to manage all aspects of the Housing Authority and its programs. In October 2011, she was promoted to deputy director in charge of all programs and staff at the Housing Authority. Over the next seven years, she strengthened and improved public housing, rural development, and Section 8 programs.

Seeing a need for more affordable housing options in her area, she was instrumental in developing a Community Development Corporation, known as Prairieland Council Inc. Through Prairieland Council, Seward provided the leadership needed to successfully develop a new 40-unit housing subdivision known as Blue Sky Meadows, which was funded using Low Income Tax Credits and opened in June 2013.

Seward also developed a public-private partnership that included the Housing Authority of Mason County, the Mason County Health Department and the Mason District Hospital to build a senior living facility called “The Lodge,” which opened in October 2017. This development in Manito, Illinois includes 48 units that are a mix of memory care and assisted living, as well as a medical clinic to serve the residents and the immediate area.

Seward has experience obtaining advice and funding options at the national level through multiple government organizations like the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and also has experience acquiring funding through key partnerships with groups such as Denver-based Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

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Dennis Wiser wore many hats in his 70 years. He was a City of Racine alderman from 2010-2018 and became the first person to serve three consecutive terms as Racine City Council president in at least 70 years. Then from July 2017 to November 2017 he served as interim after John Dickert stepped down, and before Cory Mason was elected and sworn in. He served on the Racine Unified School Board for 12 years, from 2008 to 2020. Wiser was a retired math teacher who had also previously served as the executive director of the Racine Education Association, the Racine teachers’ union.

On Wednesday, he died unexpectedly.

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