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Randy Thompson now leading Worthington's HRA

Randy Thompson, Worthington's new HRA Director, is shown near his office at The Atrium in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Though in his new role as executive director of the Worthington Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) for little more than a week, Randy Thompson is well aware of the challenges facing people in need of affordable housing.

All of the approximately 160 units operated by the HRA in Worthington are full, and staff keeps a waiting list handy to fill open units within days of being vacated.

With the exception of two market-rate four-plexes, the HRA's properties cater to people with low- to moderate income in need of subsidized housing. The Atrium is the HRA's largest facility, and it's also where the HRA offices are located. Filled to capacity, the building has 100, mostly one-bedroom apartments.

One of Thompson's first tasks at the helm will be to continue discussions with the five-member HRA board of directors on a potential new housing project that would be owned and operated by the HRA.

"That is very high on their agenda," Thompson said. "We would build it, own it, operate it and maintain it."

There are still some issues to be worked out before the project advances, such as whether the units would be market-rate or geared toward low-income individuals.

With Thompson's background in finance -- nine and a half years with First State Bank Southwest and three years with Community First National Bank, in addition to four and a half years with the Southwest Initiative Foundation -- he will oversee the financial integrity of the organization, as well as seven full-time staffers.

"I'll be making sure that our units are occupied and maintain a high rate of occupancy," Thompson said.

"With banking and finance being my background, this was definitely a change, but my background does have some merits with financial (work) ... and working with the general public," he added.

Thompson is excited for the new challenge of working for the HRA.

"Also, the housing authority provides an essential and basic function for all of us --good, clean, affordable housing," he said.

Thompson, a native of Lakefield, has resided in Worthington with his family for 17 years. His wife, Tara, is the early childhood family education director with District 518; and they have two daughters, Amy, 20, and Betsy, 16.

"I just looked at this as an opportunity to make a career change and also stay in the Worthington community," Thompson said.

Outside of the office, he serves on the board of directors for the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Worthington Public Utilities and the Worthington Area Foundation.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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