Jeannie Chaffin serves as the Director of the Office of Community Services, within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Ms. Chaffin brings local, state and national level experience in anti-poverty efforts to her appointment at ACF. Prior to joining ACF, Ms. Chaffin served as the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Senior Program and Policy Specialist at the National Association for State Community Services Programs where her responsibilities included policy development and technical assistance to State CSBG Administrators. Ms. Chaffin also coordinated with existing partners and created new relationships with key national organizations, members of Congress, and the Administration that furthered the purposes of CSBG at the state and local levels.
Ms. Chaffin has worked in the CSBG Network for over twenty years, at both a State CSBG office and a local Community Action Agency. As Missouri’s State CSBG and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program manager, Ms. Chaffin was responsible for contract management, monitoring, Federal and State reporting, including Results Oriented Management and Accountability, budget development, training, and creating new initiatives and approaches to reduce poverty.
Ms. Chaffin is a graduate of Drury University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and a Certified Community Action Professional.
Dr. Yolanda J. Butler has served as Deputy Director of the Office of Community Services since April 2006. She served as both Acting Director and Deputy Director of OCS from 2008 to 2011. In her dual role, Dr. Butler has been an executive manager and advisor for nine block grant and discretionary community and social services grant programs (including one Presidential initiative program) that totaled about $8 billion. Prior to her positions in OCS, Dr. Butler served as a senior advisor on legislative, regulatory and budget policy in the Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget where she worked on key social services and community programs. Butler received the doctorate in Political Science (concentrating in American Government and Public Administration) from Howard University in 2006.
Division of Energy Assistance
Lauren Christopher is the Energy Program Operations branch chief in the Division of Energy Assistance. The Operations Branch administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at the federal level, which includes reviewing grantees’ annual LIHEAP Plans for funding, investigating complaints, providing training and technical assistance to grantees, and conducting compliance reviews of grantees. The Operations Branch also determines grantee funding for the optional Leveraging Incentive and the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Program.
Christopher has a public service career spanning more than 10 years with positions at both the federal and local government levels. Previously, Christopher served as a LIHEAP program analyst on performance measurement and policy activities. Christopher also has prior work experience with several other federal programs, including the Child Support Enforcement Program and the U.S.-Mexico Border Program, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Christopher is an attorney, licensed in Maryland. She received her Juris Doctor from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and her Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Arts in political science from American University in Washington, D.C.
Division of State Assistance
Seth Hassett is the Director of the Division of State Assistance (DSA) within the Office of Community Services (OCS). Major programs within the division include the Community Services Block Grant and the Social Services Block Grant. In addition to coordinating large block grant programs, DSA supports specialized technical assistance and exemplary practice programs focused on areas such as benefits enrollment coordination, performance management, and leadership development for community services providers. Hassett is a social worker with experience in health and human service program administration, policy and budget, as well as community planning and services delivery.
Division of Community Discretionary Programs
Lynda Perez was appointed director of the Division of Community Discretionary Programs in December 2006 and has been the acting director of the Division of Community Demonstration Programs since May 2010. The two divisions run five programs: the Community Economic Development program, the Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individual program, the Rural Community Development program, the Assets for Independence program, and the Strengthening Communities Fund program, totaling about $48.6 million in appropriations for FY 2011. She has extensive experience in grants management, procurement and operations. Perez has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and has earned a reputation for being a compassionate advocate for low-income people and services.
Rafael J. Elizalde, serves as the Program Manager of both the Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) and the Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF). Prior to coming to HHS, in addition to his private sector and business experience, Elizalde served as executive director of a faith-based community development non-profit organization serving multi-cultural and socioeconomically diverse populations in the mid-Atlantic Region. Rafael was also a division manager for a Northern Virginia Public Library System, in charge of operations, fleet and facilities and a program manager, policy analyst, budget officer and ethics compliance official for the U.S. EPA. He is a graduate of the American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program and holds a bachelor’s from the University of the State of New York, and a master’s of public administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Administration.
J. Janelle George currently serves as a co-Program Manager of the Assets for Independence (AFI) program in the Office of Community Services.
George joined ACF in 2005 through the Department’s Emerging Leaders Program. In six years with OCS, her portfolio has included the Social Services Block Grant, Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), and most recently, the restructuring of CSBG Training and Technical Assistance programs.
Janelle has completed master’s degrees in public policy and social work at the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy in 2005 and Saint Louis University (SLU), School of Social Service in 1995, respectively.
Gretchen Lehman is co-program manager for the Assets for Independence (AFI) program in the Office of Community Services. She is the lead program manager for AFI program partnerships and policy. Prior to joining AFI, Ms. Lehman was a social science analyst in HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) for six years, covering a research and policy portfolio focused on asset building, financial education, and place-based initiatives. Ms. Lehman came to HHS as a Presidential Management Fellow after earning a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Social and Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal and completed her undergraduate degree at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.