December 1, 2021

Getting a promotion

Ella DiIorio named executive director of housing authority

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

Ella DiIorio stands besides the front entrance to the Cortland Housing Authority building. She’s worked at the agency for nearly 16 years and was recently named the new executive director, effective Sept. 15

Ella DiIorio began her work with the Cortland Housing Authority nearly 16 years ago, and she will soon be its newest executive director — a responsibility she says she’s more than ready to take on.

DiIorio has held positions in the agency’s Public Housing Program and the Housing Choice Voucher Program and has been the office’s administrative assistant for the past eight years, working alongside former Executive Director Margaret Lann and Deputy Director Mindy Natale.

“All positions I’ve held have given me the knowledge and background needed to be a successful executive director,” DiIorio said of the job she begins Sept. 15. “The daily routine and agendas at the authority are ever-changing. When dealing with over 600 households in our programs, you never know what situations may have to be addressed on any given day.”

Governed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency oversees a $4 million annual budget, managing 380 public housing apartments and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which has subsidized 306 households in Cortland County.

When Lann retired in December 2020, Natale filled in as acting executive director, but she and DiIorio shared the responsibilities as a team.

“There’s only three people that manage this office — the executive director, the deputy director, and the administrative assistant — so I have full confidence in Ella’s knowledge and abilities to fulfill the requirements of the position,” Natale said.

DiIorio exhibits qualities needed in an executive director, Natale said, such as her empathy and professionalism.

“She doesn’t get flustered, and that’s an important quality for someone in a management position,” Natale said. “She’s able to deal with any situation that is presented to her. We try to follow the ‘respond, don’t react’ motto — you can’t just react, because you don’t know people’s circumstances, you don’t know what led people to where they are.”

The position oversees a staff of 15.

“One of my goals is to continue to work closely with the staff to come up with inventive ways to be successful in reaching our mission effectively and efficiently,” DiIorio said. “I believe that everyone should have decent and safe housing for themselves and their families. Being a participant in one of our programs allows for personal growth.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DiIorio has already seen some changes she’d like to make once she begins as the executive director.

“Based on what we have experienced over the past 18 months, I would like to see our website up and accessible,” DiIorio said. The website would allow the agency to send and receive information from applicants and participants through an online portal.

“I would also like to become more involved in our community,” DiIorio added, “working to increase relationships with other service agencies to assist applicants and tenants to get the assistance they need to improve their circumstances.”


Housing authority program applications

The Cortland Housing Authority is accepting applicants for its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs.

Request an application by emailing info@cortlandha.com or calling 607-753-1771, ext. 235