Orange County turned to a familiar face as its next Housing and Community Development Director. Corey Root, who has spearheaded the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness (OCPEH) since March 2016, has been chosen to replace Emila Sutton. Root’s first day will be June 21.
“We were fortunate the best candidate also happened to be someone who knows all about Orange County and the issues we are facing,” said county manager Bonnie Hammersley. “Corey’s familiarity with the county and the Board’s priorities around affordable housing will make for a seamless transition.”
As OCPEH Coordinator, Root partnered with local government elected officials, staff, service providers and advocates to advance affordable housing goals within Orange County. She also coordinated efforts to develop and implement programs and services for the homeless or those in danger of becoming homeless.
In the past five years, OCPEH completed a systems map and gaps analysis and worked with community partners to fill several of the major gaps in homeless services.
“I am proud that Orange County now has flexible funding for homelessness diversion, a rapid re-housing team to help people exit homelessness, a street outreach team to help people living unsheltered, and a Housing Helpline to connect folks in housing crisis to services and programs,” said Root. “It is very energizing to work with colleagues in government, nonprofits and with our elected officials who are all committed to increasing access to affordable housing.”
Root earned her undergraduate degree in Film and TV from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She received Master’s degree in Public Administration from N.C. State University in 2006. Prior to coming to Orange County, she was a project specialist for the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness from April 2013 through March 2016.
The primary mission of the Orange County Housing and Community Development Department (OCHCD) is to promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a dignified living environment.
“Orange County Housing and Community Development and our partners at the Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Carrboro, and Town of Hillsborough have been working very hard to ensure folks can stay in their homes during the pandemic,” said Root. “We will continue to help people access funding for housing and utility costs and continue to offer this assistance with dignity and respect.”