July 29, 2021
The RPC’s Community Services division is committed to meeting the ever-changing needs of Champaign County and is doing so by providing enhanced services and resources for residents of Champaign County. Community Services Director Lisa Benson points to the recent filling of two leadership positions and creation of two others by the organization in support of program expansion and staff development as evidence.
Community Services Assistant Director – Formerly the Program Manager for the RPC’s Independent Service Coordination (ISC) program, Katie Harmon will be responsible for assisting the Community Services Director with division oversight, particularly in case management programs, in this newly created position. Through training and technical management, she will ensure compliance with applicable laws and policies while maintaining the highest level of standards in client and grantor services. Harmon will work collaboratively with Benson to build a culture of excellence and accountability throughout the division.
Program Manager II – Community Services – The RPC’s Homeless Services Coordinator, Jessica McCann, has been promoted to this position. In her new role, she will design and implement high-quality social service programming based on research that is responsive to the unique needs of Champaign County. She will be responsible for oversight and overall coordination of assigned programs, grants, and contracts in accordance with all relevant state, federal, and local provisions.
Justice Initiative Coordinator – After previously serving as the RPC’s Justice Diversion Program Coordinator, Laurie Britt rejoined the RPC in another newly created position to oversee the Youth Assessment Center and the Justice Diversion program housed at the Rantoul police station and Champaign County Sherriff’s Office. She will promote a working relationship and meet regularly with members of Champaign County Court Services, law enforcement, community agencies, schools, grantors, referral sources, and other parties relevant to the Justice Initiative programs.
ISC Program Manager – After spending six years with the RPC as a Program Coordinator with ISC, Angela Yost steps into the role of ISC Program Manager. She now has oversight of the ISC program and all the intellectual and developmental disability services at the RPC. She also has responsibility for the design and implementation of high-quality social service programming based on research that is responsive to program needs in the 13-county region in East Central Illinois, while participating on the Community Services Division’s program management team.
“Over the last few years, the Community Services division has expanded programming significantly while implementing a strategic vision to continue growing to meet the needs in East Central Illinois,” Benson says. “As programs and staffing grow, it is important to adjust our management structure. While finding the balance in management structure is not a straightforward formula, it was clear that to support our strategic vision, that included providing staff and clients with a quality experience, some adjustments were necessary. I am honored to have these individuals on our team and look forward to continuing to work with them to serve our community.”
Benson has also indicated that the RPC is in the process of hiring additional staff to support the expansion of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Homeless Services and Emergency Rent Assistance (ERA) programs. In addition, the agency is seeking to fill the Homeless Services Coordinator opening created by McCann’s acceptance of the Program Manager II – Community Services position, as well as Yost’s former position as an ISC Program Coordinator.
The RPC became the designated Community Action Agency for Champaign County in 1984. For nearly four decades, the agency’s Community Services division has administered a wide variety of valuable programs designed to empower people in Champaign County to achieve self-sufficiency, foster residential stability, and improve quality of life for all. Currently, the division has an annual budget of more than $15 million with over 80 employees. More information about the RPC’s work during a very challenging 2020 can be found in the agency’s annual report.