To Kimberly Grady, Vice President of Community Development with San Diego Community Housing Corporation and SDHF RSSN Leader, “Home is… safe and comfortable.”
“I was born into this.”
Kimberly Grady’s career as Vice President of Community Development with San Diego Community Housing Corporation (SDCHC) started 22 years ago, but the yearning to help and work with people originated when her mom was pregnant with her. At the time, her mom worked for SDCHC’s founder Robert Ito as he was overseeing the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) Program which launched SDCHC. As Kimberly puts it, “So, I was born into this.”
Her interest in affordable housing started when she was an undergraduate working for South Bay Community Services on their domestic violence response team. During her tenure, Kimberly went on to oversee several departments while earning her master’s degree in Forensic Science before returning to SDCHC. She returned to run resident services where she recognized the organization should further meet resident’s needs.
To better engage with the residents, she set up a survey and discovered the majority of the residents wanted the same thing. Without hesitation, Kimberly did the one thing that she knew would help transform the residents’ lives: she listened. The residents’ needs were simple. “They wanted something that was affordable, a place they could feel safe. They wanted education. And most importantly, they wanted something for their children and places for their children to be safe. Because you’re poor doesn’t mean you don’t know nice things.”
Driven by community and a sense of safety, Kimberly is constantly inspired. A mentor, leader, and teacher, she helped develop Resident Services into a more fully-functioning program with heart. With her involvement, SDCHC has overseen several programs implemented to help educate and enrich the lives of residents. One such program received a state-wide grant that provided financial literacy to affordable housing providers to serve low-income minorities. The program operated throughout California, from the border of Oregon all the way down to San Ysidro. During the three-year course, the residents’ behavioral and spending changes were tracked for their effectiveness. The result? “We made a huge impact on the families,” Kimberly said.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development thought so too. For her work with SDCHC, Kimberly received an award from HUD in Washington, DC recognizing her state-wide accomplishments in community development and resident services. Kimberly says she finds inspiration not only from her work, but the people in her community.
When asked what inspires her, Kimberly said, “the people that I work with. The staff that I work with. They inspire me every single day. Our CEO (Robert St. Germain) inspires me. Our founder, Robert Ito. Being able to serve the community that raised me. To be able to provide quality services to my hometown. It’s a different meaning when you’re born here and you know the residents on a firsthand level and you know the struggle and the sacrifices that they make.”
In the case of one resident, it was life-saving as well. Thanks to a good partnership with the University of San Diego’s nursing program, some residents who haven’t had adequate healthcare in years are able to receive medical services. One particular resident who hadn’t been to the doctor in 20 years had been complaining about pain underneath her breast. After an in-home mammogram, they had discovered the resident had breast cancer.
“We were able to get it just in the nick of time,” Kimberly said. “Those are the [services] that people need.”
Kimberly’s unwavering commitment to providing quality services that both educate and enrich the lives of affordable housing residents shines through in the work that she does with SDHF’s Resident Services Support Network (RSSN). Recognizing the vital role that service providers play in affordable housing, Kimberly is proud to have been a part of RSSN since its inception. Creating a space for committed and compassionate resident services professionals with meaningful and practical support through educational forums, networking opportunities, and peer learning in order to see residents flourish has been at the forefront of the mission of RSSN.
“You need that because people are going through real life stuff. And, if they are going through real life stuff, they want to know that that person is going to be there. They want to entrust and feel like they can be there with that person.”
Proving she listens and delivers, in 2012, Kimberly was awarded a Ruby for Outstanding Resident Services from SDHF and she continues to act as co-chair for the Resident Services Support Network (RSSN).
In response to finish the sentence – Home Is…, a quote from Michael Phelps came to mind, “‘Swimming is normal for me, I’m relaxed. I’m comfortable. And I know my surroundings. It’s my home.’ So, that’s what I was thinking. That’s what people feel. It’s relaxed, they know their surroundings; they feel safe. It’s their home.”
Thank you, Kimberly for sharing with us and for your continued partnership with SDHF!
2017 San Diego Housing Federation Annual Holiday Party and Volunteer Appreciation
Join us on Tuesday, December 5 from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm at The Lafayette Hotel for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while you network with colleagues, members, and friends. Help us celebrate our successful year and look forward to 2018 with a special tribute to our volunteers. We look forward to seeing you there! Tax deductible donations will be accepted at the door.
As part of our holiday celebration, we will recognize the 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Rickie Brown for her outstanding commitment and support of the San Diego Housing Federation.
Rickie Brown works with City Heights CDC, but her actions go far and beyond her role at work. She is currently the manager of the Hollywood Palms and Casa del Sol apartment complexes. She is a renter in City Heights and dedicates herself to provide resources, and safe and secure housing for her residents. Rickie has advocated locally & statewide bringing strong attention to the housing crisis as well as utility policy injustices through her ability to passionately present to Sacramento representatives, senators and legislators. Rickie fights for affordable housing and to abate power shut offs as she does not want any of her residents homeless or in the dark. SDHF is proud to have her represent us as a volunteer at our events every year, as she exemplifies what it means to be passionate, kind and hard-working. Congratulations Rickie on your 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award!
REGISTRATION ENDS ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH
Tuesday, December 5
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The Lafayette Hotel
2223 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92104
Thank you for supporting SDHF in this past year. With your help, SDHF will continue to work to create more inspiring moments through advocating, informing, expanding the expertise, networking and building of coalitions throughout the region. Each contribution helps advance our mission of working as a coalition to promote the creation of quality affordable housing focused on lower income families and people in need.
The San Diego Housing Federation is once again participating in #GivingTuesday which will fall on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, a global day dedicated to giving. We encourage you to join the movement and visit www.givingtuesday.org to learn more about how you can make a difference.
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Please Donate Today!
This year, we are fortunate to have a match campaign courtesy of San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation that will match every dollar donated up to $4,000.
All donations are tax deductible. Every dollar counts! Thank you for your support! We look forward to a great 2018!