• HOM Partners with SDSU Delivering Art Camp for Rio Vista’s Youth

    Throughout quarter two, Housing on Merit provided over 570 hours of
    after-school programming across our communities.

    Volunteers from San Diego State University’s College of Education
    developed a month-long Art Camp for youth at Rio Vista Apartments in

    Youth at Rio Vista showing off a masterpiece.

    San Diego, Calif. Camp participants were encouraged to explore different
    art mediums such as paint, collage, and sculpture. They then created their
    own masterpieces for the community art show, held at the Learning
    Center. The Art Camp was a success and garnered interest from residents
    of all ages. All participants wrote thank-you letters to the camp volunteers
    to express their appreciation for being able to participate in the Art Camp.


  • Navigating Opportunity Zones for Affordable Housing

    Housing on Merit’s Housing Innovation Coordinator, Charly Ligety, attended the Navigating Opportunity Zones seminar in Los Angeles on June 12. “Opportunity Zone” is a designation created by the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 to encourage economic development and job creation in distressed communities across the nation.  Over the last year homeless rates have risen 12% in Los Angeles County and 16% in the City of Los Angeles, highlighting the urgent need for new affordable housing development.  The event, hosted by the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Enterprise Community Partners, was designed to provide nonprofit organizations, public agencies, elected officials and developers with a greater understanding about how to best utilize tax incentives without exacerbating displacement and gentrification, how to identify Opportunity Zones in Los Angeles County, and best practices in affordable housing, community and economic development.  The event also included a Q&A with panelists Lori Chatman, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. and President of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc.; Ron Frierson, Director of Economic Policy, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development; and Ben Winter, Chief Housing Officer, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

  • 2019 CREW Network Spring Leadership Summit

    Housing on Merit continues to expand its impact and nationwide exposure within the affordable housing industry.  As part of this effort, Executive Director Jennifer Litwak attended the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network’s Spring Leadership Summit in Kansas City, Mo., on June 6-7.  The Summit provided attendees professional development and learning opportunities to advance their leadership skills.  The CREW Network was developed to bring together women involved in various aspects of commercial real estate to exchange information, develop business contacts and support each other’s successes.  Ms. Litwak is an appointed member of CREW Network’s Member Education Committee and the Scholarship Selection Committee, and serves on CREW San Diego’s Board of Directors. CREW Network membership has grown to 11,000 worldwide and is now in more than 75 major markets.

  • 25th Annual Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards

    Housing on Merit and Standard Communities were selected as a Tax Credit Excellence Award Winner for the preservation of the Fort Chaplin Park Apartments at the 25th Annual Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards in Washington, D.C., on June 4.  Each year the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) honors outstanding low-income housing tax credit developments, and the Fort Chaplin Park Apartment complex was the top choice among a panel of experts in the Preservation category.  The award highlights the strong partnership between HOM and Standard Communities and their dedication to the creation, improvement and preservation of affordable housing nationwide.  The transformation of the 549-unit Fort Chaplin Park Apartments included a comprehensive renovation of unit interiors and the modernization of building systems.  The project also includes the addition of a 5,000 square foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified Community Center, which serves as a hub for resident services and programming that focuses on academic excellence, health and wellness, employment and financial stability, and growth and empowerment.

  • HOM Holds Graduation Event At Vista La Rosa Apartments in San Diego, CA

    Housing on Merit held a graduation event to recognize and celebrate three students who recently earned their high school diplomas.  Valeria Parra, Melissa Ruiz and Bryana Ingle have been long-time participants of the tutoring, mentoring and educational programs offered at Vista La Rosa’s Learning Center, in San Diego, CA, which provides residents with ongoing support to pursue personal and academic success.  In recognition of their accomplishments, Resident Services staff provided each graduate with a card, flowers and a certificate from HOM.  The students were also given guidance and advice in time management, organizational skills and with registering for classes.  Future plans for the three graduates include attending San Diego State University and joining the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Law Enforcement Explorer Program.

  • Executive Director Completes Harvard University’s Nonprofit Leadership Executive Series

    Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was awarded a certificate of completion for the Nonprofit Leadership Program in June 2019 from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Executive Education.  Coursework included Mobilizing Your Nonprofit Board, Nonprofit Financial Stewardship, and Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations.  Each program is part of the Nonprofit Leadership Executive Certificate series, which was designed with the understanding that effective leadership requires a continuous commitment to learning, building new skills and expanding a global community of leaders.  The programs also align with Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Core Qualifications that include the competencies of Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business                                                                                                               Acumen and Building Coalitions.

  • MANA de San Diego Membership Networking Breakfast

    Housing on Merit’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, attended MANA de San Diego’s Membership Networking Breakfast in Chula Vista, CA., on May 25.  Miriam Roman, Senior Human Resources Generalist at Community Health Group, was the featured speaker at the event, entitled “How Mentors Can Help You Define Your Own Success.” HOM regularly participates in events such as the Networking Breakfast because they represent opportunities to expand our impact within the resident services industry.  MANA (taken from “Hermana,” the Spanish word for sister) holds events throughout the year to encourage personal and professional growth, provide important networking opportunities, and address concerns and challenges unique to the Latina community.  MANA de San Diego was founded in 1986 as a local chapter of the national Latina organization, MANA National, and is the largest chapter with more than 2,900 members and supporters.  It is an award-winning organization providing educational programs through mentoring, educational financial support, health and wellness, and leadership development workshops.

  • RSSN Bullying Across Ages Workshop

    As part of Housing on Merit’s ongoing efforts to provide and promote quality resident services within the affordable housing industry, Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, attended the Bullying Across Ages Workshop as part of the San Diego Housing Federation’s 2019 Resident Services Support Network’s (RSSN) Training Series. The workshop provided tools to identify, prevent and respond to bullying for residents of all ages.  It also showcased the characteristics of bullying and the ways bullying presents itself to youth, adults and seniors.  The workshop also provided mediation and healthy communication resources for adult populations.  The RSSN provides resident services professionals with educational forums, networking opportunities and peer learning.  Other 2019 Training Series workshops cover topics such as immigration services and relief options.

  • HOM Attends Hunger Action Day In Sacramento, CA

    HOM’s Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado (fourth from left), joined other advocates to support hunger relief legislation at the California Hunger Action Coalition’s (CHAC) 22nd annual Hunger Action Day in Sacramento.

    Housing on Merit has been consistently involved in supporting hunger relief.  Planning & Programming Coordinator, Vivian Preciado, recently attended the California Hunger Action Coalition’s (CHAC) 22nd annual Hunger Action Day in Sacramento, CA, to fight for meaningful policies and legislation to end hunger. Organizations and advocates from across the state, including the San Diego Hunger Coalition and Feeding San Diego, took part in the event that included legislative visits, rallies and networking to support ending hunger and poverty in California.  Ms. Preciado joined the San Diego Hunger Coalition to meet with staff members for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, advocating for several bills including the CalFresh Shelter Deduction (AB494), CalFresh Connect (SB285) and Hunger-Free Preschool (AB842).  The report entitled “Hunger Free Kids,” developed by the San Diego Hunger Coalition, documents that 1 in 5 children lack consistent access to adequate nutrition in San Diego County and highlights the crucial need for improved policies and new legislation.

  • CDFA’s Intro Housing Finance WebCourse

    Housing on Merit’s Executive Director, Jennifer Litwak, was a featured speaker at the Council of Development Finance Agencies’ (CDFA) Intro Housing Finance WebCourse on May 22.  Attendees were given an introduction to the complex world of housing, and exposed to the terminology and landscape of the housing space in community development.  The course covered a multitude of diverse capital sources within housing deals and innovative case studies from across the country on how investment in an effective housing financing strategy can help drive the success of local economic development.  Ms. Litwak joined an expert panel to examine the numerous and diverse programs available for housing development at the state and local level, and  discuss the programs they                                                                                                                     accessed for their housing projects and how it worked into their overall                                                                                                                         financing structure.