San Diego Housing Federation Announces 2015 Ruby Awards Winners

Friday, April 24, 2015

San Diego Housing Federation Announces 2015 Ruby Awards Winners

Affordable housing group honors top achievements, celebrates 25th anniversary

San Diego, CA – April 24, 2015 – The San Diego Housing Federation has announced the 17 winners of its 2015 Ruby Awards, including honors for Lifetime Achievement and Housing Project of the Year.  As the county’s largest affordable housing recognition event, the Ruby Awards are given annually to honor the best people, projects and overall achievements during the past year.

Winners were recognized at the San Diego Housing Federation’s annual awards dinner and 25th anniversary celebration held on April 24 at the Westin Gaslamp in downtown San Diego.  Presented by US Bank and chaired by Housing Commissioner Frank Urtasun of San Diego Gas & Electric, the event featured special guest and award recipient State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and was emceed by San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria.

“This year’s Ruby Awards winners are leading the way to innovative and much-needed solutions in the region’s affordable housing industry,” said Bruce Reznik, Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation. “It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when the community works together to achieve greater diversity in our housing offerings.”

In addition to honoring award winners, the sold-out event was particularly significant as the nonprofit San Diego Housing Federation is celebrating its 25th anniversary of working countywide to promote the production and preservation of quality affordable housing focused primarily on lower-income families and people in need.

“While there is still much work to be done to meet the region’s affordable housing goals, it was a great evening of celebrating our organization’s 25 years of outstanding work and showcasing the major accomplishments of our partners and fellow housing advocates,” said Reznik.

The 2015 Ruby Awards recipients are:

Housing Project of the Year (New Construction): COMM22, a mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development benefitting the City of San Diego, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan.  COMM22 is a co-development of BRIDGE Housing and MAAC Project in partnership with San Diego Unified School District.

Housing Project of the Year (Rehabilitation):  City Heights Ten, a 132-unit apartment project in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, rehabilitated by Wakeland Housing & Development Corp. and City Heights Community Development Corp.

Lifetime Achievement Award:  Sue Reynolds, president and CEO of Community HousingWorks, for her decades of dedication to leading affordable housing progress in San Diego. Reynolds was a founding board member of the San Diego Housing Federation.

Special Recognition Award: State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, a former San Diego City Councilmember and long-time champion for affordable housing and ending homelessness.

Outstanding Government Agency:  San Diego Housing Commission for its Housing First-San Diego, a three-year plan to create additional affordable housing with supportive services to help as many as 1,500 homeless San Diegans.

Outstanding Advocate:  Dr. David Folsom, medical director at St. Vincent de Paul Village Family Health Center, for his leadership in both supportive housing and health care services benefitting individuals experiencing homelessness.

John Craven Memorial Award:  Karl Schwarm, director of housing & neighborhood services for the City of San Marcos, oversaw the creation of 3,500 quality affordable homes for seniors, families, veterans and residents with special needs.

Outstanding Development Partner: North County Lifeline, for supporting the creation of amenities at North Santa Fe Apartments to benefit young adults transitioning out of foster care, in partnership with Community HousingWorks.

SDG&E Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Award (New Construction): Paseo at COMM22, consisting of 130 affordable family units as part of COMM22 in San Diego’s Logan Heights neighborhood, developed by BRIDGE Housing and MAAC Project in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District.

SDG&E Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Award (Retrofit): Rio Vista Apartments in San Ysidro, for its environmentally responsible renovation by Standard Management Company.

San Diego Housing Federation Volunteer of the Year:  Bree Wong, vice president of business development at SWS Engineering, Inc., for her passion and drive to support the San Diego Housing Federation’s mission to create and preserve affordable housing for lower-income San Diegans.

Special Recognition Award: San Diego City Councilmember Myrtle Cole and former Councilmember Ed Harris, for their effective policy-making efforts resulting in significant local funding for developing workforce housing.

Special Recognition Award:  Carlos Flores, executive director, San Diego Regional Center; Nathan Schmid, executive director, Southern California Housing Collaborative; and Mike McSweeney, board president, Southern California Housing Collaborative; for their leadership on the 32-unit Independence Point in San Diego designed specifically for the developmentally disabled community that broke ground in 2014.

Outstanding Rising Leader: Megan Kirkeby, policy director at California Housing Partnership Corp., for her advocacy efforts to secure state Cap-and-Trade funds for affordable housing developments.

Outstanding Service to Residents:  Jennifer Pankey, supervisor at Solutions Farms, a program of Solutions for Change where she teaches formerly homeless men and women how to grow and market high quality, organic produce.

CSH Supportive Housing Award:  Chula Vista Housing Initiative, a partnership of the city, county and local housing and service providers that creates pathways from homelessness for some of the most vulnerable people in Chula Vista.

Outstanding Resident Leader: Joyce Roberts, a resident at MAAC’s President John Adams Manor in the Oak Park community of San Diego, who serves an educator and strong advocate for her neighbors.

A complete listing of all 2015 Ruby Awards nominees and winners is available on the San Diego Housing Federation’s website at



The San Diego Housing Federation is a broad coalition of organizations and advocates that work to ensure all San Diegans, regardless of income, have access to a safe, stable and affordable place they can call home.