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October 13, 2021

San Diego Housing Commission’s Housing and Homelessness Programs Honored with National Awards for Innovation

SAN DIEGO, CAFive San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) programs to address affordable housing and homelessness in the City of San Diego have received recognition this year for innovation from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

“The culture of innovation and collaboration at the San Diego Housing Commission is essential to identifying solutions to housing challenges, especially during unprecedented times like the COVID-19 pandemic,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “The national recognition of these programs reflects the leadership and support from Mayor Todd Gloria, City Council President Jennifer Campbell and the entire City Council, and the Housing Commission’s Board of Commissioners; the dedication of the organizations that collaborate with us; as well as the continuing outstanding work of the Housing Commission’s staff.”

NAHRO Awards of Merit recognize programs with “an innovative approach, creating and using techniques and procedures that represent new and creative practices in implementing programs and resolving problems.”

Two of SDHC’s five Awards of Merit recipients are also finalists for NAHRO Awards of Excellence, a higher tier of award that recognizes “outstanding innovation and achievement in housing and community development programs throughout the country.”

SDHC’s Award of Excellence nominees are:

  • Preserving Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego,” an SDHC report that provides a housing inventory in the City of San Diego, including a first-of-its-kind inventory of naturally occurring affordable housing; cost estimates for preserving housing at risk of losing its affordability; and strategies to preserve affordability.

    The San Diego City Council on October 27, 2020, approved seven actions based on this report to implement a strategy for affordable housing preservation in the City of San Diego.

  • Operation Shelter to Home, the collaborative initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health of San Diegans experiencing homelessness and help them obtain housing as quickly as possible. This initiative helped approximately 1,500 individuals obtain permanent or longer-term housing in less than a year.

    SDHC collaborated with the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Regional Task Force on Homelessness, the San Diego Convention Center, Father Joe’s Villages, Alpha Project, Veterans Village of San Diego and additional service providers to launch Operation Shelter to Home on April 1, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winners of the NAHRO Awards of Excellence will be announced in March 2022. Only 21 programs or projects nationwide received NAHRO Awards of Excellence in 2020.

The SDHC Awards of Merit winners are:

  • Affordable Housing: Hillcrest Inn – SDHC’s purchase of Hillcrest Inn created 45 long-term, deed-restricted affordable rental housing units for a mix of incomes from individuals who experienced homelessness to middle-income households with income up to 150 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income.

  • Administrative Innovation: Homelessness Program for Engaged Educational Resources (PEER)This is a first-of-its-kind partnership between SDHC and San Diego City College that provides specialized education, training and job placement assistance to develop the workforce needed for programs and services that help San Diegans experiencing homelessness.

  • Administrative Innovation: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) Online Application PortalSDHC created this new online NOFA portal to streamline the application process for funds available from SDHC.

NAHRO is a membership organization that includes more than 19,500 housing and community development providers and professionals throughout the United States.


Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall

Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission


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