HOM Acquires Affordable Housing Complex in Toledo, OHRead more
Housing on Merit is proud to announce it has extended its reach in the affordable housing industry to the Midwest by acquiring Michaelmas Manor Apartments in partnership with BLVD Capital. The affordable housing complex, located in Toledo, OH, consists of 94 units affordable to low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The complex includes a business center, community game room, two community rooms and two community libraries. “Housing on Merit is excited and proud to expand our work to preserve affordable housing to include residents of Toledo,” said Jennifer Litwak, Executive Director of HOM. “Michaelmas Manor offers residents modern facilities specifically tailored to their needs.”5
HOM Executive Director Joins Home Start Board of DirectorsRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, has joined the Home Start Board of Directors to support the agency’s commitment to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to provide evidence-based family strengthening services. The Board represents a diverse background of professionals and experts in their field, who have a passion for strengthening families and communities in San Diego and beyond. Board members also serve on select committees to provide financial oversight and governance, supporting strategic planning, developing policies and assisting with fundraising. In 2018, Home Start served over 28,000 families in San Diego and surrounding counties.
Housing Association of Nonprofit DevelopersRead more
Housing on Merit has been a member of Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) since 2016. HAND is a nonprofit membership association comprised of over 350 organizations working across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to collaborate in the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Capital Region of Baltimore, Washington and Richmond. HOM supports HAND’s mission of convening a professional community of housing providers to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Washington metropolitan area, and we are involved in HAND’s Braintrust Committee, which is comprised of emerging leaders that support the implementation of programming as part of the GenerationHAND initiative. To date, HOM has co-developed 653 units of affordable housing in Washington, D.C.
4th Annual Fair Housing ConferenceRead more
Housing on Merit has long been a vocal advocate for residents of affordable housing communities. Our Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, recently attended the 4th Annual Fair Housing Conference, which brought together fair housing practitioners, policy makers, housing advocates and developers, community leaders, and top experts to discuss fair housing discrimination issues and solutions. Keynote speaker Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC and Director of USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), challenged participants to consider fair housing and cross-over issues as opportunities to innovate and improve our communities from within. Council President Georgette Gomez officially declared April as Fair Housing Month in San Diego, and acknowledged the ongoing affordable housing crisis and the need to include residents when discussing solutions.
2019 Women Making History AwardsRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, attended the 2019 Women Making History Awards in Washington, D.C., on April 3. The event was organized by the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) to further its mission of telling stories of women who transformed the nation by growing a state-of-the-art online presence and a physical museum to educate, inspire and empower. Ms. Litwak, recognized as an innovator within the affordable housing industry, joined other accomplished women from various fields to honor three women who have made extraordinary accomplishments. This year’s award recipients are former United States Senator from Maine, the Honorable Olympia J. Snowe; Gracie and multiple Emmy Award-Winning advocate, activist, philanthropist and an internationally acclaimed home life expert Sandra Lee; and former President of Spelman College and Bennett College, and former Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D.
HOM Support of HAN Legislative ChoicesRead more
Housing on Merit is a longtime member of the Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN), that has announced its support for AB 842 (Limon/Eggman) – Hunger-Free Preschool. This bill would ensure that all low-income children in public preschool have access to nutritious and free or reduced-price meals, using funds available from existing child nutrition programs. As a provider of resident services to low-income youth at our affordable housing communities, HOM understands the significant correlation between hunger and the ability for youth to focus in school. According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition’s 2015-2016 Benchmark Baseline Report entitled “Hunger Free Kids,” a shocking 1 in 5 kids lack consistent access to adequate nutrition in San Diego County. This can have devastating effects on children’s health, development and ability to learn.
2019 Resident Services Training SeriesRead more
Housing on Merit empowers residents in our communities by developing meaningful resident services programming with resident input and goals in mind, and by building strong community partnerships. As part of our commitment to be leaders in quality resident services programming within the affordable housing industry, HOM’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, is participating in the San Diego Housing Federation’s 2019 Resident Services Support Network’s (RSSN) Training Series. The RSSN provides resident services professionals educational forums, networking opportunities and peer learning, and the Training Series offers workshops on relevant topics, such as immigration services and relief options.
HOM Attends HAN’s Legislative BreakfastRead more
Housing on Merit has been a long-standing member of the Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN) and the San Diego Hunger Coalition. In a show of support to end hunger in San Diego County, Housing on Merit’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, attended HAN’s Legislative Breakfast on March 22. The annual event was attended by legislators, staff, and like-minded organizations who advocate for better policies statewide that will reduce hunger. Food insecurity is a significant issue in San Diego, where there the affordable housing crisis often forces working and military families to make difficult choices. This year’s speakers included Congresswoman Susan Davis and representatives from Feeding San Diego, the San Diego Food Bank and Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
Executive Director Wins Gamechanger AwardRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was honored to win the Gamechanger Award at the Women of Influence Awards on March 20. The Gamechanger Award recognizes women who make significant contributions to their industry with a track record of change, innovation and accomplishments. Ms. Litwak has successfully managed the closing of over $283 million in multifamily acquisitions, and overseen the development, preservation and renovation of over 2,500 affordable housing units nationwide. The awards ceremony was presented by the Connected Women of Influence Association in celebration of Women’s History Month and to recognize women leading the way in business, industry and enterprise, along with the organizations and individuals that champion women leaders.
CREW Network Scholarship Selection CommitteeRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was recently selected to join the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network’s 2019 Scholarship Selection Committee, an exclusive community that provides members an opportunity to access committee resources and network with other successful business leaders. Each year the Committee is responsible for identifying CREW Network Foundation scholars to be recommended to the CREW Network Board of Directors. In 2019 the CREW Network will award 20 academic scholarships totaling $100,000.
Application deadline for 2019 scholarships is April 30, 2019. Women currently enrolled as full-time junior, senior or graduate students and interested in learning more about this scholarship program are encouraged to review application guidelines at https://crewnetwork.org/foundation/college-scholarships.
Ms. Litwak is also an appointed member of CREW Network’s Member Education Committee and serves on CREW San Diego’s Board of Directors as a Foundation Delegate. CREW Network membership has grown to 11,000 worldwide and in more than 70 major markets, and is one way that Housing on Merit continues to expand its nationwide exposure and share its impact in the affordable housing marketplace.
19th Annual Dr. Seuss Spring Read-InRead more
As part of Housing on Merit’s commitment to community outreach our Planning & Program Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, attended the Lawyers Club of San Diego’s 19th Annual Dr. Suess Spring Read-In at Central Elementary School in San Diego on March 1. Ms. Preciado and a host of other professionals brought Dr. Seuss books to read to classes, and encouraged children to read aloud excerpts from the books. Central Elementary is a pre-k through 5th grade public school with a culturally diverse student body who are among San Diego’s most disadvantaged.
San Diego State University’s Housing and Inequality ForumRead more
San Diego State University’s (SDSU) School of Public Affairs, Institute of Innovative Governance, held a Forum on Housing and Inequality on February 28. Housing on Merit’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, attended the event addressing housing unaffordability in relation to inequalities of income, wealth and race. Additionally, the forum discussed San Diego’s inadequate supply of subsidized housing compared to increasing demand, and established a 5-year research plan to gather critical data needed for policy changes in the San Diego region. Policy changes proposed will be designed to protect tenants, preserve existing affordable housing and increase the production of affordable housing. City Council President, Georgette Gomez, was a guest speaker and Voices of Our City Choir performed.
CREW 2019 Winter Leadership SummitRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, recently attended the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network’s 2019 Winter Leadership Summit in New Orleans on February 13 – 15. CREW chapter leaders and members from around the world attended the multifaceted event to exchange ideas with leading experts on chapter management and the leadership skills necessary to gain a business advantage. Ms. Litwak is an appointed member of CREW Network’s Member Education Committee , Scholarship Selection Committee, and serves on CREW San Diego’s Board of Directors. CREW Network membership has grown to 11,000 worldwide and in more than 70 major markets, and is one way that Housing on Merit continues to expand its nationwide exposure and share its impact in the affordable housing marketplace.
2019 Fair Housing For Our Future ConferenceRead more
Housing on Merit’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado attended the 2019 Fair Housing For Our Future Conference on February 13, as part of the Fair Housing Council of San Diego’s 26th annual Laws and Litigation Conference. Topics discussed that impact fair housing included the environment, criminal justice reform, ethical considerations for advocates and attorneys, and the Supreme Court. Several experts spoke about hate and extremism, voting and housing civil rights, and fair housing and employment. The Fair Housing Council’s mission is to eliminate unlawful housing discrimination in the housing rental, sales, lending and property insurance markets.
3rd Annual LA County Homeless InitiativeRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, joined more than 800 stakeholders at the Los Angeles County 3rd Annual Homeless Initiative Conference on February 7. HOM is committed to preventing and combating homelessness, and this event recognized the Homeless Initiative’s past achievements and lessons learned, and explored challenges and opportunities for the upcoming year. Highlights included panels and breakout sessions intended to facilitate group discussion on both current and emerging issues critical to the success of the Homeless Initiative.
HOM Acquires Affordable Housing Complex in Chula Vista, CARead more
Housing on Merit is pleased to announce it has acquired Heritage Apartments in partnership with Standard Communities and GHC Housing Partners. The affordable housing complex, located in Chula Vista, CA, consists of two communities located on adjacent lots: Harvest Ridge, a 91-unit property serving seniors, and Sunrose, a 180-unit property serving families. Heritage residents will benefit from a nearly $9 million dollar renovation program and be able to remain in their homes during the project, which will modernize building systems, improve handicap accessibility, and upgrade unit interiors, common areas and amenity spaces. “We look forward to providing supportive services and education programs to the residents of Heritage Apartments,” said Jennifer Litwak, Executive Director of HOM. “With both families and seniors calling Heritage home, there is a unique opportunity to enrich lives across many generations.”
Housing on Merit Calls on Congress to Address Housing CrisisRead more
In an effort to continually advocate for the expansion of affordable housing throughout the nation, Housing on Merit has joined the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign that includes national organizations working in housing, education, healthcare, civil rights, anti-poverty, senior advocacy, faith-based sectors, anti-hunger, veterans affairs and LGBTQ rights. Recently, this multi-sector campaign released a report entitled “Within Reach” and is bringing it to Congress to advocate for stronger federal action and involvement for the most vulnerable low-income households. Included in the report are three long-term policy strategy initiatives to dramatically expand rental assistance, expand the supply of affordable housing, and prevent housing instability and homelessness through a national financial assistance emergency program. The report also presents research highlighting how housing can significantly affect outcomes in education, health, civil rights, food security and poverty reduction. The campaign is also pressuring Congress to increase the annual funding of the national Housing Trust Fund to $3.5 billion.
Seniors Gain Attention at CREW Network ConventionRead more
By 2030 an estimated 61 million baby boomers will be over the age of 65. Housing on Merit recognizes the growing housing challenge facing seniors and currently has four senior-only affordable housing complexes. The topic of senior housing also received increased attention at the annual CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network Convention and Marketplace, held in San Diego in October 2018. Housing on Merit’s Executive Director Jennifer Litwak was CREW San Diego’s Director of Education and Programs for 2018 and took a key role in planning the event. The convention included a breakout session entitled “From Urban to Suburban – The Changing Landscape in Senior Living” to address the anticipated “Silver Tsunami” and discuss ways the commercial real estate industry can prepare for this influx with unique designs and by raising awareness in communities throughout the United States. The annual CREW Network convention is one of the top real estate networking events, focused on advancing the achievements of women in the commercial real estate industry. Ms. Litwak has been selected to serve on CREW San Diego’s 2019 Board of Directors and continues to address the challenge for seniors.
Housing on Merit Continues Partnership with Toys for TotsRead more
Housing on Merit distributed Christmas gifts to children residing at two of our San Diego properties, thanks to our longstanding partnership with the San Diego U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. We received more than 120 gifts from Toys for Tots, and a group of volunteers wrapped all of the gifts in preparation for our annual Holiday Celebration. Young participants at our Rio Vista and Vista La Rosa communities each received two gifts and enjoyed numerous activities such as a cookie decorating contest, a Christmas mad libs game and musical chairs.
2018 CREW Woman of Influence AwardRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was recently presented the 2018 Woman of Influence award by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego. CREW San Diego brings women together to build professional and personal relationships, expand industry knowledge and expertise, and support the development of commercial real estate.
CREW Network Member Education CommitteeRead more
The Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Board of Directors has appointed Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, to serve on CREW’s Member Education Committee, which is responsible for leading the selection of high-quality programs for the 2019 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace. The Committee will head the search for innovative industry programs and exceptional professional development training opportunities for CREW members and chapter leaders. Member education and professional development are two of the high-priority cornerstones of CREW Network’s strategic plan and are critical to the success of its chapters and members.
2018 Business Women of the Year AwardRead more
The San Diego Business Journal (SDBJ) recently nominated Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, for the 2018 Business Women of the Year award. The annual event is SDBJ’s largest annual reception and awards program, honoring successful women business leaders who have made significant impacts in their industries. The event will include a keynote address from the former Chief of Police for the City of San Diego, Shelley Zimmerman, and a Lifetime Achievement Award presentation for Nyda Jones-Church, President and COO of Sotheby’s International Realty. The event will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on December 13.
2018 BRAVO! AwardsRead more
For over 40 years the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) has advocated for changing the business culture and providing women leaders more opportunities in the economic, social and political environments. Recently, the national organization named Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, as a finalist for Woman Business Owner of the Year and Women’s Advocate of the Year for the 2018 Bravo! Awards. Ms. Litwak joined a list of 10 women entrepreneurs chosen from all industries to recognize their significant contributions and accomplishments made within their professions.
State of San Diego MultifamilyRead more
San Diego is one of the most expensive cities to live in the country and like many large cities faces a critical shortage of affordable housing. On November 15 Bisnow held the State of San Diego Multifamily networking event to bring together stakeholders to discuss innovative solutions to the escalating housing shortage. The local event covered topics on investment, development, design trends and the future of the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was invited to speak about investment activity in the San Diego multifamily market. Multifamily is a key asset class that attracts large institutional investors, real estate investment trusts (REITS) and private family-owned shops, all wanting a part of this growing market.
Pillars of Freedom GrantRead more
Housing on Merit is dedicated to reducing the number of women veterans experiencing homelessness. As a result of our efforts, the USS Midway Foundation awarded HOM with the Pillars of Freedom Grant during a ceremony held on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego on November 8. The USS Midway Foundation was developed to model the mission of the USS Midway Museum and assist service organizations supporting current military, veterans and first responders. The Pillars of Freedom Grant will be used to help fund HOM’s Awards of Merit for Housing Assistance program, which provides funds to women veterans facing homelessness in order to remove barriers to permanent housing.
Innovate Housing: New Ideas on the Future of HomeRead more
Housing on Merit is continually working to gain knowledge on how to best address the ongoing challenges of housing supply and affordability. Recently, HOM attended Innovate Housing, an event administered by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley and Fannie Mae, held in San Francisco on November 8. The networking event brought together various entities attracted to the affordable housing development industry including leading innovators, journalists, policymakers, builders, designers and investors. Topics included tackling the high cost of new housing construction, innovative techniques to address increased density in urban areas and how technology could revolutionize real estate finance.
2018 National Development Finance SummitRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was honored to speak at the 2018 National Development Finance Summit, which took place in Dallas, Texas, from November 7-9. The event invited 75 industry leaders from 20 different states and Washington, D.C., to network and collaborate on best practices and solutions in development finance. The National Summit is administered by the Council of Development Finance Agencies and provides individualized learning for both public and private sector participants from across the country. Ms. Litwak gave presentations on housing investment tax credits, and financing programs sponsored by state and local governments.
Housing on Merit Generosity OfferingRead more
Housing on Merit recently received the Generosity Offer from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. The church supports local organizations making an impact in their communities and designates a portion of their monthly offerings to one organization each month. The donation will be applied to HOM’s Awards of Merit for Housing Assistance program, which assists women veterans in San Diego transition from homelessness to permanent housing. The monetary gift will allow HOM to reach its goal of housing twice the number of women veterans in 2019 compared to previous years.
Affordable Housing Impact ForumRead more
Housing on Merit is always in search of opportunities to network and collaborate with affordable housing experts. Recently, HOM’s Executive Director Jennifer Litwak attended City First Foundation’s 2018 Affordable Housing Impact Forum in Washington, D.C., on October 24. The workshop-style event was focused on solutions to better serve distressed neighborhoods through sustainable and responsible community development. Topics discussed included technical information in nonprofit development, policy development and government. Breakout sessions targeted private finance, Community Land Trusts and optimizing Opportunity Zones, which focus on providing sustainable economic development in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods.
CNHED Community Development WeekRead more
The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) supports and advocates for nonprofit housing and economic development in Washington, D.C. As a member, Housing on Merit recently participated in the agency’s Community Development Week from October 15-19. Topics addressed through panel discussions and roundtables included the role of affordable housing in intergenerational communities, and how the current development trends are impacting vulnerable communities. Subjects also included ways to better leverage public and private financing for affordable housing. A highlight of this event was the annual “A Community of Leaders” special gathering, which acknowledged the activities and impact of member organizations like HOM.
2018 CREW Network Convention and MarketplaceRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, serves on Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego’s Board of Directors as the Director of Education + Programs and as an appointed member of CREW Network’s Industry Research Committee and Member Education Committee. The 2018 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace was held in San Diego on October 17-19. The annual CREW Network convention is one of the top real estate networking events, focused on advancing the achievements of women in the commercial real estate industry. Each year some of the best educators and leaders in the business present at this event, which also includes breakout sessions and networking opportunities. CREW Network membership has grown to 11,000 worldwide and in more than 70 major markets, and is one way that Housing on Merit continues to expand its nationwide exposure and share its impact in the affordable housing marketplace. Ms. Litwak has been selected to serve on CREW San Diego’s 2019 Board of Directors in the role of Foundation Delegate.
Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN) October MeetingRead more
Housing on Merit is a founding member of the Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN), which brings together like-minded agencies to raise awareness about the critical issue of hunger in San Diego County. HAN works to influence state and federal policies for the purposes of improving food assistance and addressing the root causes of hunger. Through 2017 we worked with various health, housing and social services agencies to increase access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for low-income and food insecure college students, expanded access to school meals for low-income students, and broadened the tax credit for donations of fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the primary goals of the October meeting was to develop a Policy Working Group for HAN-sponsored legislation in 2019 and to discuss forming a 2019 Hunger Awareness Month Working Group to further address food security in San Diego.
HOM’s Executive Director graduates from Development Finance Certified Professional ProgramRead more
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director Jennifer Litwak has become the newest graduate of the Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) program. The intense training course is designed to produce graduates with a comprehensive knowledge of development finance concepts, as well as a thorough knowledge of the full development finance spectrum. The course is administered by the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and is the industry’s sole comprehensive development finance professional certification program. Graduates gain valuable experience and knowledge within the complex development finance industry. “Jennifer’s commitment to equity in all the communities in which she works makes her an excellent example of the quality of graduates we see work through the DFCP Program,” said Toby Rittner, President & CEO of CDFA.
Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network 2018 White PaperIn News, Uncategorized onRead more
The Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network is the industry’s premier business networking organization dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. HOM’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, serves on the Network’s Industry Research Committee which recently released its 2018 white paper, Achieving Pay Parity in Commercial Real Estate. The paper presents expert insight, data, best practices and action items for company leadership, human resources, and women professionals to close the gender pay gap. CREW’s most recent data found a 23.3% gender pay gap among industry professionals. The publication also explores why the pay gap continues to exist and what’s on the horizon for equal-pay-for-equal-work legislation globally. Recent social movements have heightened society-wide awareness about negative treatment and pay disparities that women are facing in the workplace. Like other industries, commercial real estate is now under greater pressure to address these issues as companies strive to meet equality, diversity and inclusion goals.
HOM Attends Opening of FlyawayHomes’ Colden Street ProjectRead more
Housing on Merit is eager to expand and promote the collaborative efforts of innovative thinkers committed to addressing the affordable housing crisis in Southern California. HOM Board Member Monica Ball and Project Management Assistant Christopher Velasco recently attended the grand opening of FlyawayHomes’ Colden Street Project in Los Angles and tour of Potter’s Lane in Orange County. Participants viewed newly constructed housing units built out of recycled shipping containers intended to function as permanent supportive housing. The event was hosted by the Downtown Community Planning Council (DCPC) Social Issues Sub-Committee and Urban People Living In Faith & Trust Transforming Lives (UPLIFT). HOM attended this event with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, Funders Together to End Homelessness, Senator Ben Hueso’s Office, Downtown Fellowship, San Diego County, Salvation Army, PATH, Price Charities, New School of Architecture, Downtown Residents Group and the East Village Residents Group.
Capitol Vista Groundbreaking, Washington D.C.Read more
In September, Housing on Merit along with its development team, Mayor Bowser, and leaders from DC DHCD, DC HFA, and DC DMPED broke ground on its latest project, Capitol Vista in Washington D.C. As part of the District’s RootsToRoofs initiative, this multifamily development will bring 104 additional units of affordable housing to Ward 6 serving residents earning up to 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2018 with completion forecasted for quarter three 2020.
Opportunity Starts at Home CampaignRead more
Opportunity Starts at Home is a national multi-sector housing campaign and recently hosted its first Roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C. As a member of the Opportunity Roundtable, HOM was represented at the event by Associate Director of Planning and Programming, Sanam Kalhoro-Escoto. With the goal to meet the rental housing needs of the nation’s low-income populations, the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign raises awareness of how housing stability impacts other sectors and aims to expand the multi-sector network to reach a diverse array of stakeholders. The objective for year one of the Campaign is to create definitive cross-sector engagement to address housing needs. Representatives from 70 multi-sector organizations attended the event and were presented with an overview of the campaign’s mission, goals, short and long-term plans, and policy agenda. Participants then broke into small groups to discuss their own expectations for the Roundtable, to provide detailed feedback to the campaign about its ongoing strategies and tactics, and to brainstorm collaborative opportunities for the future.
Next City 2018 Vanguard ConferenceRead more
Housing on Merit recently participated in the annual Next City Vanguard Conference held in New Orleans. Representing HOM was Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak who joined 40 other urban leaders from around the world as a 2018 Vanguard Fellow. The conference included a three-day series of presentations, workshops and neighborhood tours with the theme “Equity as a Growth Strategy.” Key to the event was the “Next City Big Idea Workshop,” where Vanguard Fellows form groups and use their knowledge and expertise to address a challenge facing the city and work toward a vision of social and economic equity. Litwak and her group were assigned the “Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods” topic and won the “Big Idea” prize after it was evaluated by local experts. Other topics in the workshop included economic development, housing affordability, cultural preservation, transportation and environmental sustainability.
The San Diego Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEO of the Year”Read more
Throughout the year, the San Diego Business Journal hosts a series of high profile events that bring together decision makers and business owners from all industries. These programs are designed to recognize businesses and leaders who positively impact the San Diego County business community. Housing on Merit’s executive director, Jennifer Litwak, is named a finalist for the Journal’s 2018 Most Admired CEO of the Year.
HOM’s Executive Director Speaks at BMC Dialogue Series: Unconscious Bias in the WorkplaceRead more
The BMC Dialogue Series, formerly known as the Women in Real Estate Conference, attracts more than 200 real estate professionals (women and men) and highlights important topics facing women in real estate. This year’s program addressed unconscious biases in the workplace, how they shape the workplace, and what we can do about it.
The program opened with Jerrilyn Malana, chief deputy for employment and special advisor at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, who set the stage for the unconscious bias phenomenon. Malana was followed by G. Joyce Rowland, senior vice president and chief human resources and administrative officer for Sempra Energy, who discussed her journey with Sempra and how the company is making great strides in the areas of unconscious biases and diversity.
Malana and Rowland then participated in a panel discussion with Tim Durie, senior vice president of organizational development for Newland Real Estate Group, and Jennifer Litwak, executive director of Housing on Merit. The panel explored the topic further. Stath Karras, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, was the moderator the panel discussion.
HOM Co-Sponsors: Alternative Housing SolutionsRead more
Housing on Merit was a proud co-sponsor of the October 2017 Alternative Housing Solutions Event. This multi-day event explored how accessory dwelling units (ADUs), modular construction and tiny homes can help address San Diego’s homelessness and housing affordability crisis. The event was well attended by elected officials, County leaders and community members, and featured tiny home exhibits open for the public to tour. HOM is eager to expand the dialogue around how innovative housing typologies can help solve the affordable housing crisis.
To learn more about the event, please visit https://tinyhomecentral.net/
Recent Publications and Projects from the National Housing ConferenceRead more
National Housing Conference (NHC) is dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. Through nonpartisan advocacy, research and communications for the continuum of housing, NHC develops ideas, resources and policy solutions to move housing forward. HOM’s Executive Director serves as a Board of Trustee for NHC, and our Resident Services Coordinator currently chairs the Philanthropy and Service Committee of NHC’s Young Leaders in Affordable Housing.
Paycheck to Paycheck: More than Housing
This research note expands on the Paycheck to Paycheck 2016 annual report and explores the context of spending on housing costs by examining household spending on a variety of items. Households must balance their spending on housing with their spending on other key household needs, such as transportation and healthcare. The lowest income households face the greatest challenges in balancing these competing needs.
Online National Housing Conference Affordable Housing Policy Guide
To coincide with the launch of the new NHC website this fall, the research staff is compiling, revising, and reorganizing information from 3 NHC research website (HousingPolicy.org, Forclosure-Response.org, and InclusivePolicy.org) to create a comprehensive online affordable housing policy guide. This guide will serve as a resource of wide breadth that offers accessible explanations of federal, state, and local affordable housing policies and programs and links to research and other resources for a variety of topics. Currently, existing content from the three websites mentioned is being used to develop the guide, and work will continue in 2017 to fill any gaps in the guide.
Hardest Hit Fund’s Greatest Hits
This brief explores the lessons learned from the years of federal assistance provided to combat the national foreclosure crisis. With the brief, we hope to preserve the best practices and guide policy decisions in the event of another local, regional, state, or perhaps federal foreclosure crisis. The analysis and recommendations were guided by interviews with staff at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and staff at state Housing Finance Agencies that administer Hardest Hit Funds.
Hunger Advocacy Network (HAN) Lobby DayRead more
Housing on Merit participates in the San Diego Hunger Advocacy Network, a coalition of non-profits dedicated to the mission of anti-hunger policy and advocacy. In May 2017 the network met with elected officials in Sacramento to gain support for its Legislative Priorities.
To learn more about the Network’s 2017 Legislative priorities, click here.
Housing and Health Working GroupRead more
With sponsorship from the Kresge Foundation, National Housing Conference will host the first Housing and Health working group meeting on March 3, 2017. The working group is made up of practitioners and organizations from both the housing and health sector that are engaged in innovative cross-sector collaborations and investments. The 6 in-person meetings will focus on identifying sustainable ways to foster more collaboration and investment particularly targeted to households earning about 30 percent of area median income and suffer from chronic health conditions. Lessons distilled from these conversations will be shared more broadly with the housing and health fields.
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director is Recognized as one of the most Influential Women in San Diego County by the Daily TranscriptRead more
Litwak runs Housing on Merit, which develops and manages affordable housing properties. The nonprofit also provides education and wellness services, along with job and life skills training for residents.
After a stint as a litigator, Litwak transitioned into public policy work and advocacy, consulting on issues related to affordable housing and homelessness. In 2013, she joined HOM, which now has 12 properties with over 2,150 units across California, serving more than 5,375 residents.
Since it generates revenue through its properties, HOM is not dependent on government funding, Litwak said. This allows the organization to be more nimble and responsive to the needs of its communities. In San Diego, for example, HOM has responded to the growing number of homeless female veterans by launching a program to provide funds to help them establish permanent housing.
Litwak said the most rewarding aspect of her job is having a lasting impact on people’s lives. She also hopes to do that through her work with the national CREW Network, helping to provide statistics on the advancement of women in commercial real estate.
“As a woman in this industry, being part of that organization and elevating the conversation around gender bias and barriers … is one of the most impactful things I can do,” she said.
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director Is Elected to the National Housing Conference’s Board of TrusteesRead more
Our Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, Esq., has been elected as a Trustee on the NHC’s Board of Trustees. The Board supports and promotes NHC and advocates for its mission. Trustees participate in NHC events and encourage others to become members of NHC and support its work. The Board of Trustees represents NHC’s membership and includes a representative of each of their regional affiliates.
Formed in 1931, the National Housing Conference is dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing for all in America. Through nonpartisan advocacy, research and communications for the continuum of housing, NHC develops ideas, resources and policy solutions to move housing forward.
Housing on Merit’s Resident Service Coordinator is Nominated for Volunteer Administrator of the Year and Outstanding Service to Residents AwardRead more
Our Resident Services Coordinator, Sanam Kalhoro-Escoto, has been nominated for the Volunteer Administrators Network’s Volunteer Administrator of the Year Award. VAN provides professional development to San Diego County’s Volunteer Administrators in the form of trainings, monthly roundtable discussions on relevant volunteer management topics, and networking opportunities. The Volunteer Administrator of the Year Award honors the professionals who exemplify the highest principles and ethics in the field of volunteer administration.
Sanam was also nominated for San Diego Housing Federation’s Outstanding Service to Residents Award. The San Diego Housing Federation creates affordable housing opportunities for low-income people by expanding the knowledge, capacity, and influence of the affordable housing development community. The SDHF’s Ruby Awards is the county’s largest affordable housing and industry recognition event honoring the best people, projects, and achievements during the past year. The Outstanding Service to Residents Award is given to an individual who provides excellent service to residents.
CREW Network’s Industry Research CommitteeRead more
Jennifer Litwak, Executive Director of Housing on Merit has been selected for the second year to serve on CREW Network’s Industry Research Committee. Jennifer’s position on the board continues our organizations’ commitment to the industry and other organizations that impact our communities.
As part of the committee, Litwak will collaborate with other CREW Network members to formulate and execute the organization’s research agenda for 2017. This includes selection of research topics based on the organization’s 2015 Benchmark Study, and 2016 White Paper entitled, ‘Closing the Gap: Addressing Gender Bias and Other Barriers for Women in Commercial Real Estate’
“I look forward to the opportunity to serve CREW network in this capacity,” Litwak said. “This committee will also provide a national platform to drive awareness of Housing on Merit and our Mission.”
In 1989, CREW Network was founded as the commercial real estate industry’s premier business networking organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women. The national organization has grown to more than 9,000 members, representing nearly every discipline within the industry including law, brokerage, leasing, property management, finance, title/escrow, development and more. It’s one of the strongest business networks in the commercial real estate industry, with an intent focus on business development, leadership development, industry research and career outreach.
How Housing Matters ConferenceRead more
National Housing Conference hosted the 2016 How Housing Matters Conference in partnership with Urban, ULI and HUD PD&R, with sponsorship from the MacArthur Foundation. The Conference explored the intersecting issues facing the housing, health, education, and workforce development sectors and identified the challenges to continuing this work in the new political climate. NHC produced 3 profiles of innovative collaborations at the intersection of housing and health, education, and economic security.
Homelessness and the Impact on Commercial Real EstateRead more
Our Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, will be moderating a talk on Homelessness and its Impact on Commercial Real Estate. Clink on the link above to learn more and to register for the event.
Helping a Vulnerable Population Get HousingRead more
HOM is dedicated to ending homelessness among women veterans in San Diego. Follow the link above to read about our efforts to remove the barriers they face in accessing permanent housing.
United Way HomeWalk 2015Read more
Housing on Merit is joining the mission to end veteran homelessness in Greater Los Angeles at United Way’s HomeWalk on Saturday, November 21st. Join our team by registering to walk or run – or make a donation to help us reach our fundraising goal. 100% of your gift (every dollar you donate or fund raise) will go directly to services dedicated to ending homelessness in Greater Los Angeles.
Thanks for joining #TheHomeStretch in ending veteran homelessness in LA County.
Housing on Merit’s Executive Director Is Named Real Estate Forum’s Fifty Under 40Read more
From a pool of more than 500, our Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, Esq., has been selected as one of Real Estate Forum’s Fifty Under 40 professionals in the commercial real estate industry. In the October 2015 issue feature, Ms. Litwak is celebrated for her experience developing more than 1,100 units of affordable housing in California and providing services to more than 3,000 residents and her legal pro bono work for providing representation to clients who need special immigrant juvenile status. The article also commends Ms. Litwak for her work as a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Board of Directors.
To read the feature, click here.
Advocacy DayRead more
Housing on Merit is proud to be part of the Hunger Advocacy Network. Every year the network meets with elected officials in Sacramento to gain support for its Legislative Agenda. To learn more about the Network’s 2015 Legislative priorities, click here.
SDG&E Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Award: RetrofitRead more
HOM was honored to receive the SDG&E Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Award: Retrofit on behalf of Rio Vista Apartments at the San Diego Housing Federation’s Ruby Awards.
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