September 21, 2007

San Diego Housing Commission wins national awards for helping youth and adult residents excel in school and work

A national housing organization honored the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) for its efforts to improve the lives of local residents.

Youth “Learning Opportunity Centers” and a family asset-building program called “Aspire” were among SDHC programs that won a total of five Awards of Merit from the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

The awards recognize outstanding, innovative achievements in affordable housing and community development. Of all U.S. housing agencies that received NAHRO awards, SDHC won the highest number in the state, and is one of only eight agencies in the nation to garner as many as it did.

In accepting the awards on behalf of the agency, Elizabeth C. Morris, President & CEO of SDHC, noted, “These five awards showcase the unique range of our agency’s work across three roles – as a Traditional Housing Agency that provides rental assistance, public housing and resident services; as a Housing Finance Partner that provides favorable financing and incentives to affordable housing developers; and as a Policy Advisor, advocating for initiatives that advance affordable housing production.”

The following Housing Commission programs and projects received NAHRO Awards of Merit:

Learning Opportunity Centers – Measuring Youth Achievement: In collaboration with community service providers, SDHC provides quality after-school youth programs, tutoring and homework assistance at seven Learning Opportunity Centers located at the agency’s public housing sites. SDHC recently launched a pre- and post-testing program to measure the academic progress being made by public housing youth throughout the school year.

Aspire – Helping Residents Achieve Economic Independence: SDHC recently developed an ambitious three-year trial program – Aspire – to help public housing residents achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency. The program provides residents with financial literacy training, budget management skills, and resources needed to purchase a home, start a small business or complete their educations.

Jean C. McKinney Manor – Providing Seniors with Quality Affordable Housing: Located on Imperial Avenue at Valencia Parkway in the community of Encanto, McKinney Manor is a 50-unit rental complex that provides housing and supportive services to very-low income seniors.

Fairbanks Ridge – A Balanced Communities Model: Fairbanks Ridge, a 204-unit affordable rental community in Del Sur, exemplifies the success of the City of San Diego’s inclusionary housing program. In 1992, SDHC and the City of San Diego spearheaded a forward-thinking housing policy that would require developers to set aside 20% of all new units as affordable in the “North City Future Urbanizing Area”

Smart Corner – New Headquarters Models Smart Growth. SDHC’s new downtown office building serves as the anchor of a unique, mixed-use project aptly named “Smart Corner.”

About NAHRO: NAHRO is a 74-year-old, nationally renowned membership organization of 3,200 housing and community development agencies and 19,500 individual members.

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