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September 10, 2013

Familiar face takes over Peabody housing nonprofit

Corey Jackson has been involved literally since childhood

PEABODY — Corey Jackson is back in the family business.

After a career designing software at Novell, he has returned to his hometown of Peabody to take a job as the new executive director of Citizens for Adequate Housing. Having been on the organization’s board, he now takes the lead position.

“My background is in corporate America,” says Jackson, 36, who worked at Waltham-based Novell following graduation from Syracuse. Yet, he tired of desk-bound work and remembered the satisfaction of helping people. Moreover, he grew up knowing of the need.

The 1983 beginnings of the organization, then called Inn Between, came in a downtown Peabody building right next to Jackson’s house. His family got involved. “The board meetings were in my living room,” he remembered, and as a kid he served tea to the members. As an adult he became a board member himself.

Now, he says, “I’m very excited about the opportunity to lead this organization. ... This feels so good. I go to work every day and I never want to leave. ... It’s definitely where I’m meant to be.”

The agency runs an emergency shelter for families and a sober-living shelter, the Inn Between and Inn Transition,  plus permanent affordable housing that can be used either by graduates of their programs or by low-income families.

The need for housing assistance is growing, Jackson says. Mothers and children are being shunted temporarily to motels, a miserable situation for kids, and state money to subsidize apartment rents is “drying up,” he says. “So we’re really focusing on our motel problem.” The agency serves 25 families needing shelter. Statewide, about 1,800 families, meanwhile, are living in motel rooms because they are eligible for shelter assistance, but there is no room for them.

Many of those seeking help, he indicates, are average people suffering as a result of hard times. “It’s not some scary individual that you wouldn’t want living next to you,” he said.

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