“Home is… where we create our memories.” – Arnulfo Manriquez

“Home is… where we create our memories.”

Arnulfo Manriquez, whose parents who had a flower shop and a rose growing business, compares affordable housing to growing a rose: a project that involves time, resources, and careful attention.

Born in Mexicali, Arnulfo immigrated to the United States with his family in 1981 and grew up in Chula Vista and San Ysidro. In his final year in the Urban Studies and Planning program at UCSD, the Assistant Director of North County Housing Foundation (now Community Housing Works) came to talk about developing farm worker housing in Vista. The presentation was directed toward the idea of creating a stable home environment for farm worker families so that they wouldn’t have to migrate with the crops throughout California. This change would allow kids to stay in one school, creating the stability needed for children to succeed academically.

“I went to seven different schools in two different countries. Maybe it was subconscious, but that was something that resonated with me and it still does,” Arnulfo said.

That moment became a turning point for Arnulfo; he had discovered a passion for affordable housing. After the presentation, he met with the Assistant Director and let her know that he wanted to work at the North County Housing Foundation. Arnulfo began to work with the organization as an intern, but continued to ask questions and take on more tasks. They saw his passion and interest in the work and began to assign him project-related tasks and by the end of his college career, he was working between 25 and 30 hours per week. Now, with 24 years of experience, Arnulfo knows that affordable housing improves the livelihood of families and communities.

“If someone has a stable, safe, and adorable home environment, they can provide for their children. It creates an environment that people can thrive in.”

Arnulfo’s involvement with the San Diego Housing Federation began in 1993, when he attended the Annual Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference. As a project manager at the time, he came to the conference to learn more about housing development and meet people who do the same work. After attending a few meetings and trainings, he became more involved by participating in panels and workshops, serving on the Board of Directors for six years, including President of the Board for two years, and has served on the Conference Planning Committee several years.

Early in his career Arnulfo had a project that involved interviewing families who were living in substandard conditions and preparing to move into their own apartments. One interview was with a family of three, who were living in one bedroom of a three-bedroom house with two other families occupying the other rooms. Unable to find a quiet space, as there were about 10 people living in that home, he had to have the interview with the family in their bedroom. “When they moved out and got their own space… I could see the change it made in people.”

In 2004, at the 10 Year Anniversary of the Mercado Apartments opening, residents spoke about their living experiences. Several families mentioned they had lived at Mercado since its opening in 1994. This stood out to Arnulfo, for a big reason. At the time, Mercado had a policy that if families went over a certain income, they had to move out. This policy essentially did not encourage residents to thrive, because once they made even a penny over the income limit, they would have to leave Mercado and be on their own.

Arnulfo knew they had to change the way they work with families. Since then, the policy has been removed and has allowed families to continue to seek advancement and success. “Now we’re seeing those incomes move up and seeing those families move out on their own.”  With this new transitional approach, Arnulfo and MAAC are now seeing families become more self-sufficient. When an empty plot of land is planted with a seed of stability, it allows for a garden to bloom and for life to thrive. It happens with roses and it happens with affordable housing.

“I truly haven’t seen affordable housing projects fail.”

We want to thank Arnulfo for his continued involvement with SDHF and for his commitment to creating environments where people can thrive.

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!


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! 

Donation Levels Hope – $25 Engage – $50 Inspire – $100 Empower – $250

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!

Read about the 2016 Moments that Inspired Us