How does one combine a passion for beautiful architecture with a desire to alleviate poverty and work towards social justice? Our very own Susanne Slater, CEO and President of DC Habitat, has figured out a way to do just that.
This fall, Susanne was named ‘Community Involvement Person of the Year’ by the DC Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). We’re not surprised. Susanne has worked for over 25 years—that’s about as long as DC Habitat has been in existence— in the nonprofit, government, and academic sectors, and has made some impressive strides in the world of housing policy and development. Her career highlights include:
- Received a $1 million research grant from the Fannie Mae Foundation—the largest ever awarded
- Created an award-winning program for over 2,000 employees of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Oversaw the conversion of a struggling public housing complex in DC Ward 7 into a successful mixed income neighborhood
- Taught courses in nonprofit management, housing finance and policy, and environmental issues during her 18-year career at the University of Maryland
Susanne believes that homeownership is a lasting solution for poverty and inequality, and that it can be both beautiful and cost-effective. She says that “good design does not have to cost more; and virtually no other social policy problem can be solved unless a person has a home.” Susanne’s enthusiasm for social justice and housing solutions is the driving force behind her work, and we think that no one is more deserving of NOMA’s 2013 ‘Community Involvement Person of the Year’ award. Congratulations, Susanne!
By: Brittany Jezouit, AmeriCorps VISTA