Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing has announced new leadership to continue building on the success of the program following the untimely death of its previous director.
Karen Tinsley, a University of Georgia Senior Public Service Associate who served as director of the program, died in April after being struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle in Oconee County.
Kim Skobba, a faculty member in the University of Georgia’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Sharon Liggett, operations coordinator for the UGA Archway Partnership, will serve as interim co-directors of GICH until a full-time replacement is named this fall.
Skobba and Tinsley co-taught housing and community development courses within FACS and worked closely together on several research and service-learning projects.
“Karen was both a close friend and colleague and her death has left a big hole for me personally,” Skobba said. “She worked tirelessly as director of the GICH program and was a valued member of our department and college. While it is difficult to imagine the GICH program without Karen, it’s a great honor to carry on her important work.”
Liggett began working with GICH in 2014 as a community facilitator and has served as a statewide planning committee member since 2016.
“Karen and I spent many hours in the car going to meetings, visiting communities and building relationships with stakeholders invested in improving housing conditions,” Liggett said. “She was a consummate colleague, a terrific friend and her loss has reverberated across the state. Her loss is magnified, as the partners of the planning committee move through this transition, with the realization of just how committed and dedicated she was to directing this housing initiative for the betterment of all Georgians.”
Since its inception in 2004, GICH has facilitated progress toward housing stability for 71 communities in Georgia.
The main focus of Liggett and Skobba will be to select five new GICH communities for the fall. Applications are open now and the interim co-directors hope to announce those communities by October.
Interested communities can apply via the GICH website.
The GICH retreat is set for September 25-27 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens.
The search for a full-time GICH director is ongoing, said Sheri Worthy, head of the FACS department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics.
Worthy said she hopes to have the position filled by October.
Tinsley, 45, came to UGA in 2002 as a research coordinator. She received the Housing Impact Award from the Housing Education and Research Association in 2017 for her significant contributions to the field of housing through focused research, teaching and outreach initiatives.
In addition to serving as director of the GICH program, Tinsley also directed the UGA Housing and Demographics Research Center.
A scholarship fund has been set up in Tinsley’s name. To contribute online, visit this link.
To mail a check, please make checks payable to UGA Foundation and be sure to put “Karen Tinsley Fund” in the memo line.
The mailing address is:
394 South Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30602
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