Daniel’s Winning Essay:
My experience with progressive social justice consists of developing more affordable housing. As a way to reverse injustices of racial and economic disparities that continue to hurt various communities. Through my professional experiences in affordable housing, I quickly noticed the lack of diverse representation in the field. I observed the detrimental effects of city planning and policy decisions that have hurt marginalized communities. Due to the lack of affordable housing, there is a growing number of long-time residents experiencing displacement, which also attributes to the public health crisis of a growing number of individuals experiencing homelessness.
After earning my Undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue a career in public policy. Post-graduation from UC Davis, I was granted the opportunity to intern at the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo (HLC). I was later offered a full-time position as an Organizer. HLC is a non-profit organization that advocates for affordable housing developments and policies, which is where I discovered how politicized housing issues have become. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time at HLC, as a visual learner, I felt that I needed to gain an additional understanding of housing, which led to my employment transition into a Junior Real Estate Development Manager (Assistant Project Manager) with Visionary Home Builders of California, Inc. (VHB).
Working with VHB, a nonprofit developer located in Stockton, California had assisted me in understanding how affordable housing development is built. VHB developments were centered around family housing. However, my interests included developing for seniors, people with special needs, and Veterans. After two years with VHB, I had transitioned into my current position at Jamboree Housing Corporation, where I am performing similar roles, assisting the Senior Director and Project Managers with tasks necessary to acquire, finance, design, entitle, construct, and occupy affordable housing projects.
I am currently enrolled in a Master’s in Public Administration program from the University of San Francisco. This program will further prepare me for public leadership by the challenging curriculum and applying this to aspects of the real world. Through my current and previous work experiences, I have realized how innovative partnerships between private, public, and non-profit sectors can help build housing and bring services to residents and the surrounding communities, which allows for equitable access to services for low-income residents. By obtaining this degree, I will have gained skills and abilities to be a leader within this career in learning areas of strategizing and implementing policies that will alleviate the displacement of current and long-term residents in the community and building more housing.