Shelter interim director resigns

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2005

Karen Rogers, interim executive director of the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless since June, is stepping down from her post.

Rogers submitted her resignation to the shelter’s board of directors on Wednesday, saying in her letter that she believes the organization is ready to be placed in the hands of a permanent director. Her last day is Sept. 30.

Rogers could not be reached for comment.

Email newsletter signup

The board, which has received approximately 20 applications for the position, is expecting to name Roger’s successor within the next couple of weeks, said board member Sandra Hefferon.

&uot;We think she did excellent job,&uot; she said. &uot;She came in at a time when we really needed her.&uot;

Rogers took over the shelter’s reins in the midst of a string of problems made public last May, when former executive director Terry Miller abruptly resigned. Prior to her departure, Miller had been publicly criticized for her policy of closing the shelter on major holidays.

Then, weeks after her departure, the Virginia State Police launched a criminal investigation into alleged embezzlement and mismanagement of money. The investigation is still ongoing, said a state police spokesman on Wednesday.

After discovering that the shelter had submitted duplicate bills for reimbursement to two different agencies between July 2004 and February 2005, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development withheld its 2006 funding pending its own investigation. The city also withheld its funding to the shelter until changes were made.

Rogers, in her resignation letter, said she has successfully implemented changes to address many of the problems, including:

-Reducing payroll and benefit costs by realigning the shelter’s staffing and implemented practical business procedures, such changing pay weeks and installing a time clock.

-Compiling a policies and procedures manual, the primary requirement needed for reinstating $74,000 in outside funding. Copies of the document have been sent to the city and the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

-Creating a partnership between the shelter and the Salvation Army for a proposed childcare center for preschool-aged children. A grant application has been submitted to the United Way of South Hampton Roads to help fund the project.

-Establishing a relationship with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

-Began rebuilding relationships with the United Way of South Hampton Roads, a connection that was severed last year.

-Establishing a more equitable violation policy for residents.

-Began working with Suffolk 60 Care, a volunteer group planning to adopt the shelter as an annual project.

-Reestablishing the after-school program, which now serves 20 children a day.

– Work with Suffolk City Treasurer Ron Williams to raise funds to meet the shelter’s annual budget. To date, approximately $20,000 of the $35,000 needed has been raised.