Our social enterprise, Evolve Workforce Development and Property Management, launched in 2016 by FHDC to create stable income for migrant workers and low-income individuals of color, and to become a trusted partner for affordable housing owners in managing the cultural, social, and financial complexities of the industry. In our first three years, we expanded staff from 15 to more than 50 and grew to manage over 1,200 units of affordable housing across 15 communities in Oregon, and we did it all while training newcomers to the industry. This experiment came with its set of lessons and opportunities, and we are so grateful to have learned from this experience.
As we re-center focus on workforce training and operationalizing our systems to better serve our partners and target communities, our plan for 2020 is to deeply invest in soft skills like equity, inclusion training, and communications, and hard skills like systems procedures, compliance reporting, software, and maintenance skills to truly become the mission-oriented property management company we envisioned and that Oregon truly needs as affordable housing development continues to be a key component to achieving prosperity for all.
To lead this transition, FHDC and Evolve Board of Directors appointed Maria Elena Guerra to act as a Dual Executive Director for both organizations through 2019. Claudia Cantu will take over as the Deputy Director of FHDC to build capacity for FHDC during this transition. Evolve will continue to manage all FHDC properties and FHDC will continue to provide in-kind resources to Evolve through 2020. The two organizations plan to more fully align its community leadership and workforce development programs, integrating FHDC’s Promotores Resident Leadership program with Evolve workforce training design and implementation.