August 6, 2013

Three Questions with Mary Kay Horoszewski

Today's blog post is a Q&A with Mary Kay Horoszewski, Executive Director of the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation.

How did you get involved in the affordable housing industry?
Mary Kay Horoszewski, Executive Director of the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation

I have been in the affordable housing field since 1977, when I started with a county redevelopment authority as a “housing rehabilitation specialist.” One of my first jobs was to estimate damages to residential properties that were damaged in a severe flood that hit in July of that year. Seventy-eight people were killed, and many hundreds had their homes destroyed or severely damaged. I liked the work and I liked the people I dealt with, so I continued on that path until this very day.

What changes have you seen in the housing needs for your community?

Well, the need for affordable housing is still present within our community. In fact, I think it has grown in terms of need, and this need falls among an even broader income and demographic population than before. In my early working years, I primarily dealt with low-income seniors. Now, the need for affordable housing is among seniors, families with children (and not just the low income), those with a disability, and young entry-level employees – and of course, the homeless veterans who are now a large part of the homeless population are in need of affordable housing. So we are serving a broader population, but they all need a good place to call home.

Has the focus of your organization changed as a result of the economy or funding environment?

From the beginning, VBCDC has focused on providing affordable housing as its primary goal, and that is still our primary goal. We have served a wide range of those in need and continue trying to cover all of those who need a good and decent place to call home – whether it’s a first-time buyer or a family that needs an affordable rental unit.

So, we really haven’t changed as far as our mission, but we have expanded the types of housing developments that we provide to serve folks from many walks of life. Also, we have provided various supportive services over the years. Many of those we work with have more needs than just housing, and at times we have had a significant amount of funding to provide services, as well as direct financial assistance. Unfortunately, this funding has decreased and we are not able to provide the financial assistance that we once were able to provide. However, we continue to look for ways to help our clients, even if we can’t help them directly. Most often, we do this by locating other organizations that can assist them with their needs.

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