Hamilton’s Serve City gets new executive director

Serve City’s new executive director knows firsthand what it’s like for the people she supports.

Tammi Ector was recently hired by Butler County’s largest homeless shelter and had been among those experiencing homelessness.

About a decade ago, Ector had spent a few nights on the streets of Hamilton, and at that time she was unaware Serve City existed.

“Had I known, I would have absolutely have taken advantage of the opportunity to come into shelter to get support in getting housing,” she said.

Serve City board chairman Larry Wallace said a combination of her homelessness story coupled with her experience at Hope House and seeking her doctorate in Strategic Leadership at Regent University was why she was picked to lead the agency. She has a bachelor’s degree in education.

But what really shined was “her heart,” he said.

“The best predictor of future performance is past performance,” Wallace said, adding past performance has been solid.

Now, as she leads the homeless shelter ― replacing David Hood, who left in October to lead Abilities First in Middletown ― she plans to raise more awareness for the facility that houses several dozens of people every night. But there is more needed, she said, specifically more permanent supportive housing for women with children.

“I’m excited to get in front of individuals and talk about the issues and the needs, and talk about them from a research-based perspective, and experiential perspective,” she said. “I’ve been in the same shoes as the women in the shelter.”

Ector comes from the Hope House Mission, where she was for the past four-and-a-half years the women’s center director for the Middletown homeless shelter.

But when this opportunity became available, she knew it was the next step in her career.

“I still love Hope House, and I support it 1 million percent, but I’m also a newer Hamilton resident, so being able to make a contribution in a meaningful way and in the community where I live is completely who I am,” she said.

In addition to trying to serve even more people experiencing homelessness, Ector said she wants to add more wrap-around services, where people can walk to the bus stop, have access to child care, and get to a grocery store even without transportation.

But one of the first objectives she wants to achieve is becoming an access point.

“Hope House is currently an access point, but they are in Middletown. Family Promise (of Butler County) is an access point. However, Serve City is the largest homeless shelter in Butler County, and serves such a broad population, that it just feels like the next step to become an access point,” she said.

Ector said being an access point will mean all individuals experiencing homelessness in the community will be entered into the Homeless Management Information System and they can help connect them to all of the resources they may need to not only obtain housing but be able to maintain it.

She said while becoming an access point is “a fairly large undertaking,” she had done this with Hope House and “will be something that I am able to oversee.” There will be some training steps needed, but Ector said, “Serve City is already functioning in some ways to meet the requirements to become an access point. They got a lot in place, and I will be able to help them cross over the finish line.”

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