Monday, December 4, 2023

City names director of newest housing and neighborhood services department

Rachel LaCoe will begin her role as director of the housing and neighborhood services department Nov. 6. (Courtesy City of Wilmington)

WILMINGTON — A former county worker has been tapped as the director of a new department within the city.

READ MORE: City’s new housing and neighborhood services department ‘well intentioned’ but ‘murky’ on details

Rachel LaCoe was hired by the City of Wilmington as director of its housing and neighborhood services department. She will begin her role Nov. 6, overseeing code enforcement, code compliance, and community development operations including the city’s affordable and workforce housing programs.

In the new fiscal year starting July 1, the city decided to split its community services department into two separate areas — one standalone for parks and recreation and one for housing and code enforcement. Community services director Amy Beatty remains at the helm of the parks and rec department.

City manager Tony Caudle said he’s looking forward to LaCoe joining the new housing and neighborhood services department.

“Her impressive background in workforce housing, community development, and local government administration will serve the city well as City Council continues to prioritize affordable housing and neighborhoods with programs and services that have such a meaningful impact on quality of life,” he said in a press release.

LaCoe comes from New Hanover County as its community planning supervisor, where she oversaw the creation of a new housing division tasked with growing and retaining affordable housing stock while alleviating challenges associated with housing insecurity.

Prior, she worked at Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity and the City of Wilmington in community development. For over a decade, LaCoe has been employed with public and nonprofit sectors, finding creative solutions to affordable housing and public services.

She received a Master of Public Administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, before starting her career at Cape Fear Literacy Council.

“The City of Wilmington has developed a highly successful portfolio of affordable and workforce housing programs that provides pathways to homeownership and affordable housing options for many in our community,” LaCoe said in a press release. “Together with responsive code enforcement, this department is a vital partner in creating thriving neighborhoods throughout the city. I am excited to lead, support, and work alongside such a dedicated staff, and strengthen relationships between the city and its neighborhoods and community groups.”

A certified planner through the American Planning Association, LaCoe holds a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, project management certification from UNCW and was a 2022 graduate of WILMA’s Leadership Institute.

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