Valerie C. Woodard Center
3205 Freedom Drive, Suite 2000
Charlotte, NC 28208
Send an Email
As a department in Mecklenburg County's Health and Human Services Agency, Community Support Services maximizes community partnerships and collaborative opportunities to better provide services for military veterans, people experiencing homelessness, people seeking substance use treatment, and people needing prevention and intervention for community or domestic violence.
Community Support Services transforms lives and community by supporting veterans, ending homelessness, treating substance use, and preventing and intervening in community and domestic violence.
To be the innovative leader in providing veteran services, and in preventing and intervening to end homelessness, substance use, community and domestic violence.
Strategic Business Plan
Stacy M. Lowry, Director of Community Support ServicesHer responsibilities include financial management, monitoring and oversight of service delivery within the department, community collaboration, advocacy and improving access to services, and building/maintaining community partnerships. First employed with Mecklenburg County in November 1998, Lowry later left the County for 11 months in another position, then returned. She became director of CSS at the department's creation in 2006.
Lowry earned a Master of Social Work degree from Western Michigan University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan. She received her clinical social work licensure (LCSW) in 2000 in North Carolina.
She served as a part-time faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Social Work Department for nine years. Her background includes experience in the mental health and substance abuse fields.
Ronnie Devine, Assistant Director of Community Support Services
Devine is the Community Support Services department's first Assistant Director, a new position created in 2018. His promotion means he will have oversight of the department's strategic business plan and the communications team among other duties as a member of the CSS Leadership Team. His start date is Aug. 1, 2018.
Previously, he served as Violence Prevention Manager for the department. He's worked at CSS for nine of the total 14 years he's been employed with Mecklenburg County. In that role Devine developed and managed the relationships, policies, plans, methods, and tools that guide our community's violence prevention. He served as a community liaison and coordinator for the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) project, which aims to reduce gun violence while increasing safety in Mecklenburg County. He coordinated the Do the Write Thing Essay Program. This national program is designed to encourage students in middle schools to write about youth violence and drug abuse in their communities and suggest ways in which these problems can be resolved.
Devine received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Education from South Carolina State University. He has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, and completed the Municipal and County Administration Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Elyse Hamilton-Childres, CSS Prevention and Intervention Services Division Director
Hamilton-Childres leads the multi-intervention and prevention programs in providing long-term solutions to ending violence. She is responsible for the domestic violence, substance use and violence prevention programs. Hamilton-Childres start date is Aug. 6, 2018.
Prior to joining Mecklenburg County government, she worked for the State of North Carolina as the Southern Piedmont Region Director for the North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement. She provided technical assistance, training and consultation to state-funded domestic violence and sexual assault organizations in 23 counties. She has also worked as a victim advocate with Safe Alliance. Her hometown is Hickory, N.C. and she completed her undergraduate studies at Davidson College. She has a Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill, with a concentration in management, policy, and community practice. Hamilton-Childres has been a leader with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Domestic Violence Advocacy Council for three years. She serves on the board of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Council on Aging, and she helped start the Charlotte Area Macro Social Work Network.
Peter Safir, CSS Homeless Services Division DirectorHe is responsible for providing direction and oversight to 15 staff working in four homeless service program areas, and for providing leadership and assuring collaboration with community agencies and partners toward the goal of ending homelessness.
Safir joined the County in July 1987 serving as County Director of Mental Health through 1999. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a master's degree in Social Work and also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Michigan. Safir completed 15 hours of graduate course work at the UNC School of Public Health while serving as the County Director of Public Health from 1999 to 2004. He has worked in the area of homeless services full time since 2004.
Scott Garlow, CSS Veterans Services Division Director
Garlow provides divisional oversight and direction advocating on behalf of the county's veterans and their families. He leads development of and maintains collaborative partnerships with other departments, agencies, and community partners to align best practice and services that influence the well-being of military veterans in Mecklenburg County. Garlow assumed his role in March 2021.
Prior to joining Mecklenburg County government, Garlow worked in North and South Carolina Local Education Agencies. He worked in the federal government and is a retired Naval Officer with almost 21 years of military service. During his service he gained experience leading organizations at home and abroad. He completed multiple deployments spanning NATO operations in the Former Yugoslavia to Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Garlow earned a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science,
Summa Cum Laude, from Old Dominion University.
Karen Pelletier, CSS Director of Housing Strategy, Policy & AlignmentPelletier provides oversight of external community, cross-sector homelessness strategy, prevention, and intervention initiatives. The primary purpose of her position is to research, develop, and implement innovated solutions related to homelessness, housing stability, and affordable housing with a focus on strategy and policy. She works to improve access to services related to social determinants of health for CSS populations. Her work includes implementing systems-focused efforts and initiatives in alignment with community priorities. Continuum of Care management and staff report to Pelletier. She assumed her role in March 2021.
Pelletier began her social work career after graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She spent the first part of her career in the child welfare arena serving children and families across the spectrum of child protective services, intensive in-home services, and foster care and group homes.She holds a Master of Social Work, with a specialization in Community Organization and Development, from the University of South Carolina.
In her most recent role as CSS Business Manager since January 2013, her responsibilities expanded beyond budget development and oversight and day-to-day operations to also include leading work to expand supportive housing and diversion through the housing stability funds. Pelletier led efforts in developing and implementing programs such as Keeping Families Together and MeckHome.
Awilda Brooks, CSS Business Manager
Brooks manages customer relations, performance measurements, strategic planning, the fraud hotline and budget/financial activities such as procurement and contracting procedures. She coordinates communication with internal departments and leads special projects as assigned. Brooks joined CSS in May 2021.
She joined Mecklenburg County in 1994 with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation as Fiscal Support II. She was promoted within the County in several departments: administrative supervisor with LUESA, accounting supervisor with the Department of Social Services and Senior Fiscal Analyst with Central Finance. She has served in a fiscal capacity throughout her tenure with the County with an increasing role and level of responsibility in each department in which she's served.
Brooks earned a Master of Science degree in Accounting,
Summa Cum Laude from Strayer University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business from Belmont Abbey College.
On July 1, 2021 Mecklenburg County will increase service capacity. Read the latest service availability update.