ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 60
(Senate - April 08, 2019)

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[Page S2292]
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                         ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS


                         TRIBUTE TO MARY SKEENS

 Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I wish to recognize a friend and 
colleague, Mary Skeens, who has been a tireless advocate for affordable 
housing for West Virginians. Mary is retiring as the executive director 
of Community Works where she has spent the last 12 of her 40-year 
housing career.
  A native of Kentucky, Mary realized at an early age that not every 
family in a warm, secure home. Her pressing concern for the living 
conditions of her classmates and peers led her into a career in 
housing. In 1990, her husband, Jim, had a desire to return to his 
family farm in Roane County, WV. This allowed Jim to return to his 
Mountaineer roots, and Mary embraced her new adopted home State and 
entered the housing profession.
  Mary started her housing career as manager at a senior living high-
rise apartment complex in Dunbar. She was later offered a position at 
the West Virginia Housing Development Fund as the head of the community 
development office overseeing the newly-created HOME Program during 
President Clinton's Administration. Mary worked with nonprofit housing 
agencies all over West Virginia in an effort to qualify as them as 
community Housing Development Organizations, also known as a CHDOs. 
Over the next 10 years, Mary worked with numerous housing providers to 
develop many worthwhile projects that serve West Virginians to this 
day, creating domestic violence shelters, affordable multifamily rental 
complexes, and affordable housing subdivisions in underserved areas of 
our State. Mary is well known throughout West Virginia for her housing 
finance skills and her ability to provide much-needed technical 
  In 2007, Mary became executive director of Community Works in West 
Virginia. This agency was newly created and in its early years of 
operation. Community Works is a licensed mortgage lender providing home 
ownership loans, owner occupied rehabilitation loans, and a commercial 
loan program to its nonprofit housing member organizations. Mary 
stepped in and grew the agency by expanding its reach. This agency's 
work can be seen in most every housing development in the State through 
its loan programs and outreach. In addition to providing affordable 
financing opportunities, Mary has overseen many initiatives to improve 
housing policy and awareness that will affect this industry for years 
to come. She has also dedicated much time serving on many housing 
related boards of directors, and, as a result of her work, was inducted 
into the West Virginia Affordable Housing Hall of Fame in 2012.
  Mary has accomplished so much in her years of service to West 
Virginia's housing community. I would like to thank Mary for aiding our 
State and its residents by providing safe, decent, and affordable 
housing to so many citizens who could not have afforded it otherwise.
  Thank you for working with me and my staff over the years to serve as 
a resource on housing policy. I wish you well in your retirement. It is 
truly an honor to call you a friend and fellow West Virginian.