Virginia Leary is our new Director of Housing Counseling and Economic Opportunity at Piedmont Housing Alliance. Her name and face are familiar to some. She has been with the organization since 2014 in the role of housing counselor and loan program administrator. During her time at Piedmont Housing, Virginia has helped over 120 clients become first time homebuyers and has worked with over 1,200 households to improve their financial knowledge and well-being.
Virginia is a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, and holds certifications in Homeownership Counseling and Financial Capability through NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC). She is also an Accredited Financial Counselor through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). Virginia is a University of Virginia alumna and earned a BA in Spanish there.
In her new role, Virginia will lead a team of 3 people – Michelle Tanner, housing counselor; Shawna Wells, Economic Opportunity Coordinator; and the position of housing counselor and loan program administrator, for which we are currently hiring.
Her goals for this role include building and increasing direct service delivery, strengthening the relationship between residents at Friendship Court and our economic opportunity coordinator, and aligning her team’s work with PHA’s broader strategic goal of closing the racial wealth gap and increasing homeownership for African Americans.
The Director of Housing Counseling and Economic Empowerment role was left vacant in January after Melissa Yuille passed away. The Homebuyers Club that she started during her time at Piedmont Housing continues to thrive and it will continue under Virginia’s leadership with Michelle Tanner taking the lead on that program. In spite of challenges this year, the Housing Counseling team has already served 160 households with one on one counseling and 52 households with group education since January 1. In addition to that, four households purchased their first home with the help of this team and five more are scheduled to close in the next two months.