Sara Spence named Housing Professional of the Year

During our 19th Annual Travois Indian Country Affordable Housing & Economic Development Conference in Miami, FL, we honored professionals in five categories at our Superhero Awards ceremony. This was our fifth year honoring industry professionals doing amazing work in their communities, and it’s become one of our favorite activities during our annual conference.

We received nominations from managers, employees, colleagues and peers. The nominations are wonderful to read through. We get to hear so many stories of people doing superhero work in their communities.

In the weeks to follow, we will highlight our 2019 Superheroes.

Sara Spence, executive director of the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA), was named Housing Professional of the Year.

“I am deeply honored to be named the 2019 Housing Professional of the Year,” Sara said. “To have my work recognized by colleagues and peers is incredibly flattering. Helping tribal communities in the housing arena is an extremely gratifying career. We are able to see firsthand the difference our work makes in the lives of the families we serve.”

In 2017, Sara stepped into the role of executive director at the urging of many co-workers and colleagues. Since that time, she’s been directing, leading and continuing to facilitate the tribe’s vision for future housing.

With an amazing housing team by her side, she worked diligently making sure every t was crossed and i was dotted on the mountains of paperwork for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), HUD, IHBG and ICDBG. She managed applications, RFPs, RFQs, and design and construction and kept everything running on time, on budget and worked hard to keep everyone happy! 

Sara continued: “At the core of everything we do, we strive to provide an essential need; a safe, sanitary, affordable home. It is that home that will allow them to grow and succeed not only for themselves but also for their families and their communities.”

“I must first thank my husband and family for supporting me throughout my career; they have given me a foundation that has allowed me to focus on my work and successfully serve the Karuk Tribe and Karuk Tribe Housing Authority for more than 20 years. I simply would not be where I am today without them.

“I must also thank the entire staff of the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority, the Karuk Tribal Council, and the Housing Board of Commissioners for their dedication, support and hard work. I am grateful to be part of such an amazing team; it is incredible what can be accomplished when everyone works together!”

“We are happy to have established a longtime partnership with Travois; their entire team has been amazing to work with, namely Lauren Dahl and Crystal Banks-Mann, who have been with us throughout our first LIHTC project, Karuk Homes #1, from start to finish. Their support has been integral to our success,” she said.

Congratulations, Sara, it’s been a pleasure to work alongside you!

KTHA has many housing and economic development plans on the horizon. We have no doubt that Sara and her team will make it all happen! 

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