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Cumberland County’s Ben Laudermilch taking Pa. human services post

Ben J. Laudermilch has worked hard on behalf of vulnerable populations in Cumberland County. Soon, he’ll be doing that for the entire state.

Laudermilch, executive director of the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, is leaving the agency to serve as special advisor to Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas.

Laudermilch’s resignation is effective April 1, CCHRA officials said.

Finance Director Peggy Bower, who joined CCHRA in 2000, has been named interim executive director and already has taken on added responsibilities, according to a CCHRA release.

The CCHRA board has retained The Gulotta Group to lead the search for a new executive director.

Laudermilch has been CCHRA’s executive director since September 2012. He joined the authorities in 2007 as a mental health housing development specialist, working with housing programs and developing the Cumberland County five-year mental health housing plan as well as the 10-year plan to end homelessness. He was elevated to deputy executive director in 2010, while continuing his duties as the special needs housing director.

His purview as leader included oversight of a $17.9 million annual budget and a staff of 60 employees.

Officials said Laudermilch “led the organization through a very challenging time” including federal sequestration — beginning in 2013, sizable federal funding cuts impacted many programs, including housing.

“Regardless, the authorities launched initiatives collaborating with partners to meet increasing demand for affordable housing, and in Cumberland County, avid interest in community and economic development,” officials said.

Among his accomplishments in the post was creation of Cumberland County’s first affordable workforce townhouse community — the 35-unit, $9.2 million Shepherd’s Crossing in Hampden Township. Created through a public-private partnership with Monarch Development Group, the development opened late last year.

He also presided over CCHRA during construction of 19 units of family housing at Crossroads Apartments in Lower Allen Township, and phase II construction of the Molly Pitcher Hotel Senior Apartments in Downtown Carlisle, adding eight more units as part of that $2.4 million project.

Laudermilch also assisted in creating more than 400 jobs in new or expanding businesses, with emphasis on promoting Cumberland County’s downtowns and locally owned retailers and restaurants.

Laudermilch, who holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Shippensburg University, is a Hummelstown native. He lives in Susquehanna Township with his wife, Claudia Petruccio, and their two children, Olivia and Nathaniel.

This article was published on Central Penn Business Journal’s website on March, 11, 2016.

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