Housing volunteer Elpert moves on after 30 years
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
For the past 30 years, Dr. Gerry Elpert has spent the fourth Monday of every month at the Madison Housing and Redevelopment Commission meeting.|
He's volunteered to help not just with the monthly meetings, said Rhonda Roling, president of the board.
"He's been involved in planning, development, calling, city meetings," Roling said.
After three decades, Elpert is now retiring from that board.
Roling is not sure what she'll do without him. "I look to him for answers."
Madison Mayor Roy Lindsay concurs that Elpert is very knowledgeable with housing issues, and when someone has been on a board that long, they have a lot of historical background. Elpert has been happy to provide continuity, but he says it's time for him to move on.
"The years have flown by," Elpert said. "Sometimes you need a change in leadership to keep it fresh and more diverse. Then the housing commission is more likely to do the job and meet expectations."
The group seems to have been doing a good job while Elpert has been on the board.
"I think the program historically has been very strong," Elpert said, noting that the group has expanded its efforts, increasing aid over 30 years, building new apartments and keeping Lakeview Tower (known as the highrise) going. The 1970 structure certainly fills a need and "is almost always full."
He could see the need 30 years ago, when he was asked to consider being on the housing board.
"To have safe, affordable housing is crucial for any community," Elpert said.
Crucial, but not always easy. Keeping up with federal regulations that are always changing has been "the toughest part and the most challenging." But he persevered through the challenges, knowing that "if others don't step up to fill the void, ultimately the community suffers."
Elpert wanted to see the community of Madison live and flourish.
To that end, he has been "happy to be able to give time to the community of Madison. I could never give enough for a community that's been as good to me as the community of Madison."
"It's my small part," Elpert said.
Lindsay will be appointing a replacement soon and said that dedicated volunteers like Elpert are very important.
"We are always interested in finding people willing to serve on city committees. Dedication like [Elpert's] is difficult to find."
Elpert's advice to the next person taking a place on the volunteer board: "Be prepared to have personal satisfaction that far exceeds the effort put forth.
``Volunteering does more for you than you do for it."
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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