February 9, 2022

The CoHo Connection – January 9, 2022


Hey there, Houser!

We had a great lunchtime panel exploring DEI within the affordable housing ecosystem hosted by our Coalition of Housers (CoHo).


Inclusive design is central to building affordable and accessible housing but is often viewed as a matter of compliance, rather than an opportunity to strengthen every aspect of a project. On Wednesday, January 26, Steven Yang, Director of Multifamily Lending & DEI Lead at Housing Trust Silicon Valley, moderated a panel about this topic with:

  • Micaela Connery, Co-founder and CEO of The Kelsey
  • Sydnee Freeman, Director of Real Estate Development at Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
  • Rod Henmi, Design Director at HKIT Architects

This is the first of several panels the CoHo working group hopes to have regarding diversity and inclusion in affordable housing. Sign up for the mailing list to hear when the next one happens.




Get That Gig!

The Partnership for the Bay’s Future Fellowship is a two-year, full-time, cohort-based, and salaried position for experienced, entrepreneurial, and equity-minded affordable housing professionals interested in leading collaborative policy making efforts in selected Bay Area cities. Fellows are embedded with one government jurisdiction for the duration of their two-year tenure through a matching process, while benefiting from the Fellowship’s ongoing training, mentorship, technical assistance, professional development, and networking.


Fellows gain access to sector experts and influencers while also developing a network of leaders with the capacity to effect substantive and lasting change in the housing landscape. In this unique program, Fellows are positioned as learners and practitioners. As such they are provided with leadership and technical skills needed to help create a region where everyone can thrive, largely through advocating inclusive and innovative housing policies.


This initiative is guided by the PARTNERSHIP FOR THE BAY’S FUTURE (PBF), an innovative and collaborative effort of the philanthropic, private, nonprofit, and public sectors. The initiative advocates for racial equity and economic inclusion to protect people already living in affordable homes while preserving and producing affordable homes to meet the region’s needs. PBF is managed by The San Francisco Foundation, which also funds this Fellowship. LEARN MORE.


East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) is a member-driven organization that preserves, protects and expands affordable housing opportunities through education, advocacy, organizing and coalition building. This dynamic non-profit organization includes over 400 organizations and community leaders advocating for affordable housing development and just policies at the local and regional level.


We are seeking someone who cares about making a difference for people experiencing the affordable housing and displacement crisis, working at the intersection of policy and organizing.  The ideal candidate will plan and advance winning campaigns, supporting and integrating the efforts of our policy and organizing teams. The Campaign Strategy Director will support and be supported by our small and tight-knit staff team, as well as our dynamic and diverse network of members and partners. They will work with the best affordable housing experts and advocates in the Bay Area and connect with community-based-organizations, mission-driven housing providers, grassroots advocates, and affordable housing resident leaders.


Please send a PDF of your resume and a thoughtful, tailored cover letter to with the subject line “Campaign Strategy Director Application”.


Van Meter Williams Pollack, LLP (VMWP) is hiring. We are seeking unique talent that shares our commitment toward social equity, environmental responsibility, and a robust and active urban environment. If you share these values, join us! Here’s a link to more info about each role: Careers @ VMWP


Van Meter Williams Pollack is an award-winning architecture and urban design firm based in San Francisco, Denver, and Minneapolis. We provide a full range of design and planning services for a variety of clients, project types and scales. Our focus areas include affordable housing, urban design, infill development, neighborhood redevelopment and TOD. Find out more about us here.


Housing Trust is looking for exceptional people who believe that safe, stable affordable housing opens the door to better living for everyone.

We believe that our employees are our greatest assets and our goal is to create a rewarding workplace where they can contribute in meaningful ways and are given a path for advancement and success. We offer competitive compensation and generous benefits. Read more about our competitive benefits package.


Housing Trust Silicon Valley is an equal opportunity employer to all regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, actual or perceived gender identity, age or sexual orientation. Housing Trust is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and our goal is to have a workforce (at all job levels) that is representative of the communities we serve. Find Job Postings here.


Learning Opportunities


SV@Home February HAC: COPA


This month, we are looking at the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA). The Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) is a law that requires a landlord who wishes to sell his rental property must first offer it for sale to a Qualified Non-Profit. When a landlord wants to sell their property, they would first notify a list of nonprofits pre-approved by the city. These nonprofits have a certain amount of time to indicate their interest and then time to put together an offer for the property. San Jose City Council will decide to adopt a COPA program at an upcoming council meeting.


Come learn more about San Jose’s COPA proposal, and share your thoughts.


Featured Speakers:

  • Andrea Portillo, Organizing and Policy Manager, SOMOS Mayfair
  • Kristen Clements, Division Housing Manager, San Jose Housing Department
  • Aboubacar “Asn” Ndiaye, Partnership for the Bay’s Future Fellow for the City of San Jose

Moderated by Regina Celestin Williams, Executive Director of SV@Home

View the recording from last month’s HAC here.


The HAC is a monthly, informal brownbag discussion convening Housers to engage on hot housing topics. Every month, we select a topic or current event, bring in an expert to give a brief presentation, and then open up the discussion to ask questions, float new ideas, and identify potential areas for shared action.


350 W. Julian St #5 • San José, CA 95110 • 408.780.8411 •