Message from the President & CEO
SDHC Newsletter
March 1, 2022
Approximately 14 years after I arrived in San Diego to begin leading the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) through a transformation and developing a culture of continual innovation, I am preparing to explore new opportunities.
My resignation from my position as SDHC’s President & CEO, which I announced February 22, 2022, takes effect on March 31, 2022. My decision to leave at this time enables me to pursue new directions while the exceptional leadership team and staff currently in place at SDHC continue to provide housing assistance to families in need in the City of San Diego.
SDHC’s accomplishments in the last 14 years are numerous and significant. They reflect the agency’s positive impact on the lives of thousands of households and the focus on our customers and our community that I instituted when I arrived, with the guiding principle “We’re About People,” which remains SDHC’s motto.
Moving to Work Agency

Previously a traditional public housing authority, SDHC has become an organization recognized nationally for “the San Diego model,” our approach to providing housing assistance for households with low income or experiencing homelessness. Many of SDHC’s innovations are possible because of the flexibility allowed by SDHC’s status as one of only 39 original “Moving to Work” (MTW) agencies out of approximately 3,200 public housing agencies nationwide. Less than six months after I became SDHC’s President & CEO in September 2008, SDHC renewed its MTW status at my direction.
Providing Rental Assistance

Our federal rental assistance program helped more than 19,000 households with low income pay their rent in the City of San Diego during Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021). We also developed initiatives throughout my tenure to provide opportunities for these households and public housing residents to become more financially self-reliant. These initiatives include our Path to Success rent-reform initiative and the award-winning SDHC Achievement Academy, a learning and resource center and computer lab with programs available at no cost to rental assistance families, public housing residents and participants in some of our homelessness programs. The SDHC Achievement Academy’s programs emphasize career planning, job skills, job placement and personal financial education.
SDHC Achievement Academy Participant Ivette and her sons
SDHC’s experience and efficiency administering the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program, the agency’s largest program, made us well-positioned to administer emergency rental assistance programs for the City of San Diego, such as the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program. This program launched March 15, 2021, to help pay rent and utilities for households with low income experiencing financial hardship due to or during the COVID-19 pandemic. In less than a year, SDHC has made payments totaling more than $175 million to help more than 15,900 households through this program.
COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program Participant Eric
Homelessness Solutions

Under my leadership, SDHC also has assumed an ever-growing role in addressing homelessness in the City of San Diego. HOUSING FIRST – SAN DIEGO, SDHC’s homelessness action plan, was developed at my direction and launched November 12, 2014. This action plan has created more than 10,200 housing solutions in seven years for San Diegans experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. SDHC also led the creation of the Community Action Plan on Homelessness for the City of San Diego, a comprehensive, 10-year plan that builds on recent progress, lays out short-term achievable goals and serves as a guide for long-term success in addressing homelessness. I am proud to have served as Chair of the Leadership Council for this plan and as Chair of the Regional Continuum of Care Advisory Board for the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness. SDHC also continues to administer homelessness programs and services for the City of San Diego.
SDHC Moving Home Rapid Rehousing Participants Danny, Kimberly and their daughter
Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing

SDHC’s innovations also have continued to create and preserve affordable rental housing units in the City of San Diego. In the last 14 years, more than 12,700 deed-restricted affordable housing units have been completed with SDHC’s participation. These include more than 800 units created or preserved through an innovative finance plan I oversaw that leveraged the equity from former public housing units for which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development transferred ownership to SDHC. In addition, SDHC acquired properties, such as the historic Hotel Churchill. SDHC’s award-winning rehabilitation of this property created 72 affordable units with supportive services for individuals who experienced homelessness, predominately veterans. SDHC also continues to provide essential financing to developers to make affordable housing possible.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa Apartments
403 affordable housing units, of which 270 are for San Diegans who experienced homelessness
SDHC collaboration with Father Joe’s Villages and Chelsea Investment Corporation
Advancing Policies

Throughout my years at SDHC, the agency also has engaged with elected leaders and officials at local, state and federal levels of government, as well as stakeholders, to advance policies consistent with SDHC’s vision, mission, purpose, core values and strategic priorities. For example, we produced a series of reports about the housing affordability crisis and recommendations to reduce costs and increase the production of housing. In addition, SDHC developed a report about affordable housing preservation that contributed to the City Council’s adoption of preservation strategies for the City. Most recently, SDHC completed a pilot program that constructed Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) at five properties SDHC owns. Through this program, SDHC documented lessons learned and cost estimates to help other San Diego property owners interested in building ADUs. I also have been honored to testify before state and federal legislative committees about “the San Diego model” of providing housing assistance.

I have worked in affordable housing across the nation for 50 years. I have served as a CEO for 25 of those years, including the last 14 in San Diego. As I prepare for my next chapter, I am proud of the outstanding leadership team and staff at SDHC. I know they will continue to make SDHC an organization the San Diego community can rely on to identify and implement innovative housing solutions, especially as affordable housing and homelessness crises continue in San Diego and across the country.
I want to thank the elected leaders, Housing Commissioners, developers, service providers and community organizations who have worked with me and SDHC over the years. Strong leadership and collaboration are crucial to achieving housing solutions.
While this is a transition for me, it is not a retirement or a farewell. I look forward to what the future holds.
We're About People
Established in 1979, the San Diego Housing Commission provides a variety of award-winning affordable housing programs and services that stimulate the local economy, revitalize neighborhoods, and impact the lives of San Diegans with low income and/or experiencing homelessness.
San Diego Housing Commission |