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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Marion County earns Innovation Award for emergency housing program

Marion County Community Services recently received an Innovation Award in recognition of the county’s Emergency Housing Replacement Program.

The award was presented to Chairman Craig Curry during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting that was held on Tuesday, July 18.

Marion County Community Services receives Innovation Award at MCBCC meeting on July 18, 2023
Cheryl Martin (Community Services Director) and Helen Urie (Housing Grant Manager) presenting the Innovation Award to Chairman Craig Curry during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting on July 18, 2023 (Photo: Marion County Public Relations)

The Florida Association of County Human Service Administrators gives the Innovation Award to counties that create innovative programs and resources to help community members who are most in need of assistance.

Marion County received the award for its Emergency Housing Replacement Program, which was created by commissioners in 2022. Dave Damron (a.k.a. Super Dave), a longtime resident of Fort McCoy and employee of Marion County Public Schools for nearly 35 years, was the inspiration behind this program.

In 2021, shortly after his wife passed away, Damron lost his home due to a fire. According to Marion County, the housing program is designed to help homeowners like Damron who have experienced major damage to their residence, making the structure unsafe to live in.

“Helping Mr. Damron and others within our community is the purpose of Marion County Community Services”, stated Cheryl Martin, Director of Marion County Community Services. “We are excited and overjoyed that “Super Dave” received a new home that will help to start a rebuild in his life.”

Martin added that she believes this housing program will help many other citizens within Marion County.

For more information, visit the Marion County Community Services website.