April 8, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 60 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 60
(Senate - April 08, 2019)
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[Page S2292] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] 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 assistance. 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. ____________________