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Patricia McGrady, Community Activist, Named to AHC Inc. Housing Hall of Fame

Faces of AHC

Pat-McGrady

Passion for Social Justice Fuels Affordable Housing Commitment

AHC Inc. is honored to name Patricia McGrady to its 2016 Housing Hall of Fame. “We are proud to recognize Ms. McGrady’s steadfast support of AHC Inc. and her passionate commitment to preserving affordable housing for Arlington’s most vulnerable residents,” said AHC President and CEO, Walter D. Webdale.

AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, established its Housing Hall of Fame 15 years ago to honor individuals for their vision, dedication and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing. The award was presented as part of AHC Inc.’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

Ms. McGrady has been involved in affordable housing issues since the late 1970s. She was elected to AHC’s Board of Directors in 1979 and served as president from 1980 to 1981. She has remained a strong AHC supporter, serving on several AHC affiliate boards before becoming a member of AHC’s Management Advisory Board in 2007.

She has held many positions in the housing industry, including working with Arlington County as a housing relocation specialist and as member of the Arlington Housing Commission for 10 years. She was also the Co-Chair of the League of Women Voter’s Housing Committee when it recommended creating a housing trust fund to the Arlington County Board in 1982. She currently chairs the Arlington County Community Housing Finance Corporation, and is on the Board of Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, another affordable housing provider in Arlington.

Ms. McGrady’s commitment to housing affordability stems from her deep passion for social justice. “Housing is such a necessary part of life for everyone – no matter their income, age, education, race, religion, gender or nationality,” said Ms. McGrady. “You need a roof overhead before you can work on any other challenges you might face in life.”

Ms. McGrady believes strongly in doing all she can to help others have a decent place to live within their ability to pay. “I’d like to say I tried to make the world a better place.”

Other Housing Hall of Fame honorees include: Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church; Rick Nelson, former Director of Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs; J. Walter Tejada, former Arlington County Board member; and Harkins Builders, long-time AHC business partner and supporter.

Photo: Long-time community activist, Patricia McGrady (front row, second from right) celebrates Housing Hall of Fame award with friends and family at AHC Inc.’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. 

 

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Rick Nelson Honored for 50-Year Affordable Housing Career

Faces of AHC

Rick-Nelson

Career in Affordable Housing Spans Five Decades

AHC Inc. is honored to celebrate Rick Nelson’s career in affordable housing by naming him to its 2016 Housing Hall of Fame. “We are proud to recognize Mr. Nelson’s more than 50 years of service on behalf of affordable housing and also in appreciation for his strong support of AHC Inc. to preserve affordable housing in Montgomery County,” said AHC President and CEO, Walter D. Webdale.

AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, established its Housing Hall of Fame 15 years ago to honor individuals for their vision, dedication and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing. The award was presented as part of AHC Inc.’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

Mr. Nelson’s career began with an internship at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The experience changed his path from lawyer to housing advocate. Since then he has been committed to affordable housing and has held a variety of leadership positions, including 31 years with the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), serving as its executive director from 1987 through 2001.

In Montgomery County, he served as Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs from 2007 to 2015 and was the driving force behind AHC Inc.’s entry into the affordable housing market in the county.

Under his leadership, Montgomery County dramatically increased the Housing Initiative Fund (HIF), a locally funded housing trust fund that is used to preserve and produce a continuum of housing options, including affordable housing. During his tenure, the County partnered with AHC on a number of innovative strategies that preserved more than 1,000 affordable apartments.

A champion of affordable housing, he has served twice as a commissioner of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, from 1991 to 2007, and again in 2015 following his retirement as an employee of Montgomery County. He is a member of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, a Life Director of the National Housing Conference and an Emeritus Board Member of the Housing and Development Law Institute.

Throughout his career, Mr. Nelson has worked to provide affordable housing that blends into the community and provides homes for people who might not otherwise be able to live there.

“There can be a misperception about who the recipients are in affordable housing. But, people in affordable housing are your kids, the clerks in the stores, as well as other lower income families,” said Mr. Nelson. “In Montgomery County we have made the effort to provide housing that is integrated into the community so people can’t distinguish between folks who can afford to live in the community and those who can’t.

Other Housing Hall of Fame honorees include: Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church; Patricia McGrady, decades-long affordable housing activist and volunteer; J. Walter Tejada, former Arlington County Board member; and Harkins Builders, long-time AHC business partner and supporter.

Photo: Rick Nelson (center) accepts Housing Hall of Fame award from AHC Inc. President and CEO Walter D. Webdale (left) and AHC Inc. Board Chair Justin Oliver (right). 

 

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J. Walter Tejada Honored for Affordable Housing Leadership

Faces of AHC

Arlington-honorees-and-representatives

Long-time advocacy and support of affordable housing in Arlington

AHC Inc. is honored to welcome the Honorable J. Walter Tejada into its Housing Hall of Fame. “We are proud to present this award to Mr. Tejada  in recognition of his outstanding leadership and public service on behalf of the people of Arlington County and in appreciation for his tireless advocacy to preserve and expand affordable housing for low-income families,” said AHC President and CEO, Walter D. Webdale.

AHC Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer based in Arlington, VA, established its Housing Hall of Fame 15 years ago to honor individuals for their vision, dedication and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing. The award was presented as part of AHC Inc.’s 40th Anniversary celebration.

Mr. Tejada served on the Arlington County Board for almost 13 years (2003 to 2015). He has been actively engaged in local issues since moving to Arlington in 1992. He is a strong proponent of affordable housing with a deep commitment to providing decent housing for Arlington’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged residents.

His commitment to affordable housing has its roots in personal experience. He and his family moved from El Salvador to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York City when he was 13. He saw his mother struggle to pay the rent while living in a tough neighborhood.

In Arlington, he became involved in community issues through a local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Mr. Tejada devoted many hours to building awareness about the Latino community in Arlington and helped start the Community Volunteer Network and the Shirlington Employment and Education Center.

He served on several citizen advisory groups, including the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, the Affordable Housing Task Force, the Sports Commission, and the Neighborhood Day Organizing Committee before being elected to the County Board in 2003. Fighting to prevent the displacement of 3,700 low-income residents in Arna Valley in the 1990s crystallized his commitment to affordable housing.

“In the Latino culture, we don’t want other people to go homeless, we help each other,” explained  Mr. Tejada. “By the time I joined the Arlington County Board, affordable housing had become front and center for me – and it has never stopped being a high priority.”

His commitment has made a significant impact over the years. He helped push for dedicated funding for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), a loan fund that helps bridge the funding gap for affordable housing projects. He was also instrumental in preserving the Buckingham Garden apartments and the successful development of Arlington Mill, which provides affordable housing along with community space on public land.

Other Housing Hall of Fame honorees include: Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church; Patricia McGrady, decades-long affordable housing activist and volunteer; Rick Nelson, former Director of Montgomery County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs; and Harkins Builders, long-time AHC business partner and supporter.

Photo:  Virginia leaders celebrate AHC’s Housing Hall of Fame honorees for their dedication, vision and advocacy of affordable housing in Arlington. From left to right:  Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola; Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin; Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Honoree; Patricia McGrady, Honoree; J. Walter Tejada, Honoree and former Arlington County Board member; Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Jay Fisette; and Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. 

 

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Three Generations Living in Alexandria Neighborhood

AHC Faces

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Affordable Housing Helps Family Maintain Neighborhood Roots

Rosa Byrd has lived in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood for more than 50 years. Many of her family live nearby, including her 25-year-old granddaughter, Chanel Yancey, who recently moved into AHC’s Jackson Crossing apartment community. “I like the convenient location and it’s nice to be close to family,” says Chanel, who works for the Alexandria City Public Schools.

Chanel’s mother, Patricia Yancey, grew up in the neighborhood and attended the nearby Cora Kelly Elementary School. Today, she lives a few blocks from her mother, Rosa, and commutes to work with her daughter.  “I love that. I see her every day,” says Patricia. “If she had to live somewhere else, it would have changed the dynamics of our family.”

Rosa believes Jackson Crossing provides much-needed housing options in the neighborhood. “I have a lot of friends who have had to relocate out of Alexandria,” she says. “Their hearts are here, but they have to live outside the community because of the cost of living. This is a great way to help people stay in the city because it’s gotten so expensive. I’m grateful my granddaughter is living here. She was looking for a place where she could live on her own.”

Along with deep roots in Lynhaven, both Rosa and Patricia have served in a wide variety of local leadership roles, including the PTA, civic association and election board. “I honestly believe no matter where you live, you should be part of the community,” says Rosa. In 2012, the mother/daughter team was honored by the Senior Services of Alexandria for their legacy of service. That legacy continues through the third generation; Chanel also serves as an election official like her mother and grandmother.

Rosa’s long-time community involvement has been widely recognized. In 2013, she was named a Living Legend of Alexandria, and Alexandria News honored her as Alexandrian of the Year in 2014.

Rosa, who retired after 30 years with the Alexandria City Public School System, and her husband, Jack, who worked with the Metro Bus System for nearly 40 years, thoroughly enjoy living so close to family in Lynhaven. Together, they have six siblings who live within several blocks. Over the years, more than 20 children in the family have attended Cora Kelly School.

“My family is the crown jewel of my life,” says Byrd. “One of my blessings is that when they grew up, they wanted to come back to live in Alexandria.”

Photo: Three generations of the Byrd family live in Alexandria’s Lynhaven neighborhood. From left to right: Patricia Yancey, Rosa Byrd and Chanel Yancey. 

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Carlton Miller and Steve Smith

AHC Faces

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35 Years in the Affordable Housing Industry

Carlton Miller and Steve Smith are AHC’s longest-serving staff members. The organization would not be the same without their talents, expertise and warmth. Both have contributed immeasurably to AHC’s growth over the years.

Steve was drawn to AHC’s mission of social justice. Fresh out of graduate school, he was AHC’s second employee. The office didn’t have a copier, computer or even a fax machine. His primary tools were a manual typewriter and a calculator. Now Senior Vice President, Steve is involved in almost all aspects of the organization. He is tremendously proud of how AHC has grown over the years. “I enjoy feeling like we are making a difference,” he says.

Carlton’s original role was to help rehab homes for low-income families. He was sold on the organization after helping an elderly woman on a fixed income repair her roof. “I realized I could come to work every day and help people,” he explains. “What more can you ask for?” Now Vice President of Construction, Carlton manages the many aspects of AHC’s construction projects. “My goal is to help the company build and renovate at a reasonable cost with the highest quality we can possibly get.”

Photo: Carlton Miller (left) and Steve Miller have both worked at AHC for more than 35 years.