Terrance R. Duvernay Award

2021 Terrence R Duvernay Award

Contratulations Carlos A. Sanchez
Grand Rapids Housing Commission Executive Director (Retired)

 

Carlos A. Sanchez has dedicated his entire professional life to the creation of affordable housing opportunity for individuals and families. Mr. Sanchez earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University and from 1978 to 1983 he was employed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a Maintenance Engineer.  Since 1983 he has served with distinction as the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Housing Commission (GRHC), growing the number of GRHC affordable housing units available to low-income households in Greater Grand Rapids from 818 to 4580.

 

Under the leadership of Carlos Sanchez, the number and scope of GRHC program and services has been vastly expanded. This vision has several times gone on to benefit other housing commissions across the country. This can be particularly seen in the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) along with multiple financial sources for maintaining and expanding the affordable housing inventory.

 

Carlos is well known in public housing circles around the country.  He has been deeply engaged in the work of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), a professional membership organization that represents approximately 17,000 housing authorities and community development agencies and officials nationwide.  Sanchez was named a distinguished NAHRO Fellow in 2013. He also served on the national NAHRO Board of Governors as Vice President for Housing and is past president of NAHRO’s North Central Regional Council, which includes housing authorities that serve Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

 

From very early in his tenure with the GRHC, Carlos understood the potential for someone in his position to have an impact on housing opportunity beyond his own organization.

 

Through his entire career Carlos has been a tireless advocate for progressive housing policy at all levels of government. In 2018, his efforts at the local level, in collaboration with non-profit housing colleagues, culminated in the adoption of a City Commission resolution to establish the very first City of Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Fund. This fund is expected to eventually become a significant source of capital to leverage local affordable housing initiatives with the GRHC appointing 5 of the 9 members to the board of this new funding organization.

 

As homelessness surfaced as a major problem across the country in the late 1980s and 1990s, Carlos became an advocate for programs to address this growing tragedy. He led efforts at GRHC, working with the Home Builders Association, to create a transitional housing program called Hope Community, serving homeless women and children.

 

In 1987 Carlos was instrumental in support of efforts to revive a financially struggling nonprofit housing corporation in Grand Rapids called Dwelling Place. He did so by volunteering to use his agency to apply to HUD for 86 project based Section 8 vouchers for the Dwelling Place Inn, a former welfare hotel serving homeless households, owned by Dwelling Place.

 

His selfless support for expanding housing opportunity extended even further to other nonprofit housing organizations by offering hundreds of GRHC Housing Choice vouchers for LIHTC projects developed by LINC Up, Inner City Christian Federation, Dwelling Place and Genesis Nonprofit Housing Corporation, ensuring the broadest possible integration of income and opportunity in local LIHTC projects.

 

Carlos has become skilled at painting and reports that he hopes retirement will afford him more time to get back into that hobby. His other great interest and joy is spending time with his grandchildren.

 

 

 

2020 Terrence R Duvernay Award

 

Congratulations Gary Heidel

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Acting Executive Director

 

During the more than 34 years of his career, Gary Heidel has made a profound and lasting impact on affordable housing policy and development at both the state and national levels. Gary played a leading role in passing and implementing a number of important policies at the state and federal level, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Neighborhood Preservation Program, the federal HOME program, federal Empowerment Zone program, Individual Development Accounts, Michigan Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, the Miplace Partnership - Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool Guidebook, Cool Cities, Michigan Magnet Fund, Centers of Regional Excellence, and the Michigan Housing and Community Development Fund. He also plays a significant role in collaborating and leading coalitions toward the common goals of equitable economic development, neighborhood stabilization, and revitalization.

 

Gary Heidel currently serves as the Acting Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). His previous positions at MSHDA include Chief Housing Investment Officer (CHIO), Chief Placemaking Officer, Director of Program Policy & Market Research, and Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations.

 

As CHIO, he oversaw the operations of the Rental Development Division, Housing Initiatives Division, State Historic Preservation Office, and the Office of Market Research. Gary also served as Executive Director appointed in the Granholm Administration. Gary coordinates META (short for metamorphosis), a team of senior staff working on placemaking policy from MSHDA, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Transportation, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, Treasury, Work Force Development, and the State Land Bank. In addition to this work, Gary is a member of the State Land bank Board and co-coordinates the Sense of Place Council with Dan Gilmartin from the Michigan Municipal League. The Council is comprised of 40+ statewide trade organizations and state agencies that work on place-based economic development. Gary presently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University (MSU).

 

Gary holds several honors recognizing his lifelong contributions to affordable housing and economic development. His honors include the advocacy award from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, special recognition award from the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University, the Bernice Bensen Service Award from Habitat for Humanity Michigan, the CED Advocate of the Year Award from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, the Special Award of Merit from the Michigan Municipal League, and the Nonprofit Champion Award from the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

 

Gary is a graduate of the University of Michigan and attended several executive leadership programs, including the Michigan Political Leadership Program at MSU, Governors Center at Duke University, and the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.

 

Gary’s dedication to affordable housing and the greater goals of inclusive, equitable economic development show through both his career and his personal vision. From the early days in his career, he contributed to life-changing policies at local and national levels that have enabled families and communities to thrive. His long-time commitment and contribution to MSHDA, including serving in leadership positions at different periods, have enabled the organization to continue its work and form effective, lasting bonds with stakeholders and communities throughout Michigan. Gary continues to advocate, mentor, lead, and find new ways to ensure communities have affordable housing and bright futures in Michigan and beyond.