By GREGORY ZELLER //
A native Long Islander with a long resume of public service and corporate leadership in the telecommunications industry has been named Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk’s new executive director.
Tracey Edwards, who logged 37 years with the New York Telephone Co. (later Verizon) and eventually became Verizon’s regional president for Long Island and upstate New York, is the new exec, according to a release issued Friday by Habitat Suffolk.
A graduate of John H. Glenn High School in Elwood, Edwards honed her passion for civil service during a four-year term on the Huntington Town Board, serving as a councilwoman from 2013-2017.
She also serves currently as the Long Island regional director of the NAACP and previously logged stints as vice president of the Elwood Board of Education and chairwoman of the Town of Huntington Planning Board.
Such efforts “epitomize the sense of community activism that we value at Habitat Suffolk,” noted Raymond Homburger, chairman of Habitat Suffolk’s Board of Directors.
“Throughout her career and volunteerism, she has improved the lives of those she has served,” Homburger said in a statement. “We know her fresh perspective and enthusiasm will be an asset to our organization.”
Especially attractive to the board, according to Homburger, were the numerous affordable housing acts Edwards co-sponsored while sitting on the Huntington Town Board.
“The need for decent and affordable housing has grown exponentially,” the chairman added. “Habitat Suffolk is at the forefront of building and renovating homes to combat the systemic issues we face as a region.”
Edwards, who came up short in her 2017 bid for Huntington town supervisor but made rentals and affordable housing a cornerstone of her campaign, described Habitat Suffolk as an ideal “partner” on her mission to improve regional communities.
“Suffolk County is my home and I have dedicated my career to making it a better place for families to grow and communities to flourish,” Edwards said Friday. “What better partner to have on this journey than Habitat Suffolk?
“Their mission, much like my own, is to help the hardworking people of our region achieve their dreams and inspire others through their own sweat equity,” she added. “Homeownership is the cornerstone of that path.”
Habitat Suffolk is an independently operated affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Coordinating what its website calls “thousands of Suffolk County volunteers and responsible, low income families of all races, religions and creeds,” the affiliate aims to construct between 10 and 12 houses annually and “has empowered hundreds of families to achieve their dreams of homeownership” since launching 1988.
It’s a busy chapter with a critical agenda, according to Edwards, who’s ready to take the reins.
“The economic landscape of Suffolk County is diverse and challenging,” the new executive director said. “I look forward to leading Habitat Suffolk and working alongside our talented staff in developing strong, stable homes and neighborhoods.”