Hawthorne Welcher, director of the Augusta Housing and Community Development Authority, has been appointed to the National Community Development Association (NCDA) board of directors and will represent the city of Augusta in Washington, D.C.
“I am honored to serve NCDA in this capacity and to be in a position where I can tell Augusta’s story to our legislators,” said Welcher. “I look forward to working with the board members to assist local governments in providing low- and moderate-income residents with quality programs to enhance our communities.”
The NCDA is a non-partisan, national non-profit membership-based organization with over 400 partnering municipalities across the nation.
As a board member, Welcher’s duties include serving on one of the six NCDA subcommittees, approving the association’s annual budget and making decisions about the policy and direction of the Association. Welcher will also attend meetings in Washington, D.C. to speak with policy makers regarding national issues affecting America’s communities.
Welcher will also caucus regularly with the other board members to brainstorm on how cities across the nation can use “best practices” to build their communities up and make sure that all citizens have access to affordable housing.
Welcher began working with the Augusta Housing and Community Development Authority (AHCDA) in 2008 and was promoted to director in 2014.
The AHCDA is responsible for managing and maintaining 13 public housing complexes throughout Richmond county, administers the Section 8 housing program, aids the elderly and people with HIV/AIDS with housing and works with other government agencies and nonprofits to battle homelessness.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Welcher’s office also sends representatives to Magistrate Court each Wednesday to mediate between landlords and tenants to avoid evictions and help families behind on their rent to catch up rather than being turned out and having their belongings placed on the curb.
“Through the Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the city of Augusta has received $13 million to work with those who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 from a financial resources aspect and just cannot pay their rent. They will be able to pay up to 12 months in arrears plus three months forward when necessary,” Welcher said.
According to Welcher, Richmond County has earned the status of number two in the state of Georgia in terms of properly expending emergency rental assistance funding, just slightly behind the much larger Fulton County.
Welcher earned his master’s degree in management from Wesleyan University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Morehouse College.
Derek Dugan, director of development for the Salvation Army, said his office works closely with Welcher’s office on issues of homelessness and he is excited that Welcher has been added to the NCDA’s board.
“Welcher has done incredible things for his department and the city. He has fostered a culture that welcomes innovative ideas and solutions especially when it comes to the issue of homelessness and that is probably why he received this appointment,” Dugan said.