Eos Transitions
  • CEO/Executive Director
  • Barre, VT, USA
  • 110000-140000
  • Salary
  • Full Time

Comprehensive benefits package


Downstreet Housing & Community Development

Chief Executive Officer Search


Downstreet Housing & Community Development (Downstreet) is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader to guide this respected and impactful regional organization. Core to all of the organization's activities is its mission:


Downstreet strengthens the communities of Central Vermont by engaging with people, providing affordable homes, and connecting people to the resources and services they need to thrive.


The CEO's primary responsibilities will include providing oversight to real estate development activities and related programs, the management of $73 million in real estate assets, a $4 million annual operating budget, and a staff of 30, as well as working with a committed Board of Directors to develop the strategic direction for the organization.


The CEO position encompasses a wide variety of duties related to real estate development, community relations, strategic planning, financial management, fundraising and revenue generation. The CEO will be expected to ensure the financial strength of the organization, position the organization for appropriate growth, and seek opportunities to strengthen impact. Multiple years of progressive, senior level management experience required; housing development experience and nonprofit experience highly desired. The successful candidate will have excellent interpersonal, management, and analytical skills, experience working with an active board of directors, as well as the ability to manage and prioritize competing needs in a complex organization.



Organizational Background and Accomplishments

Downstreet was incorporated in 1987 as the Central Vermont Community Land Trust by a citizen group working with Central Vermont Community Action Council in response to skyrocketing real estate values and the rapid development of high-priced homes. In 2015, the organization re-branded as Downstreet Housing & Community Development to better reflect the wide variety of programs and services that Downstreet offers.


Since 1987, Downstreet has served Lamoille, Washington, and Orange Counties in Vermont. The organization serves more than 2400 people with low-and-moderate incomes each year through affordable rental apartments, homebuyer education and assistance, as well as the nationally recognized SASH® (Supports and Services at Home) program.

Downstreet is one of 240 chartered community development organizations within NeighborWorks America's national network. In 2020, it was designated a member of an elite group-NeighborWorks America rated Downstreet "Exemplary", the highest rating possible for organizations within the NeighborWorks network. To qualify for exemplary status, NeighborWorks network members must exceed performance standards in production and program services, resource and financial management, and organizational management and board governance.

Today, more than 850 local citizens reside in Downstreet's apartments, 26% of whom are children and 25% of whom were formerly homeless. Downstreet's affordable housing development activities have revitalized neighborhoods, eliminated blight, and created sustainable and inclusive communities. Its innovative projects range from the Taylor Street Apartments in Montpelier, sitting above the City's new multi-modal transit center and developed in collaboration with Evernorth (formerly Housing Vermont) and the City of Montpelier; to South Main Apartments in downtown Waterbury, 27 mixed-income apartments on the site of the Tropical Storm Irene-damaged State Office complex, mixing the historic preservation of Ladd Hall with a newly constructed building; to Downstreet Apartments in Barre, where several blighted properties were removed to make way for the new office/residential complex.


In 2022, the organization will begin the development of a Recovery Residence in Barre in collaboration with Vermont Foundation of Recovery; the development of Granite City Apartments, which includes the adaptation of the Old Ward 5 School into apartments; and the development of Fox Run Apartments on the Berlin Mall parcel-- 36 new apartments, 24 of which will be affordable.


Downstreet's affordable housing projects have been recognized by a number of awards. The French Block in Montpelier received the 2019 Council of State Community Development Agencies "Sterling Achievement Award" for Housing. Downstreet Apartments received the

2019 "Governor's Environmental Excellence Award". And finally, One Taylor Street in Montpelier was awarded the "Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture" by AIA Vermont.


Downstreet's NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (HOC) is working not only to help local citizens become homeowners, but also to assist local homeowners to maintain their homes. The Homeownership Center offers three core programs: First, homebuyer education and counseling services, including pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling. Downstreet's HOC provided financial guidance and education to 202 households in 2020, with 87 going on to purchase a home. Second, the Shared Equity Program, which provides grants to income-eligible homebuyers to assist with the purchase of a permanently affordable single-family home. Currently, 157 local homeowners' own homes through Downstreet's Shared Equity Program. And third, the Green Mountain Home Repair (GMHR) program, which helps homeowners address critical health and safety issues-as well as increase the energy efficiency of their homes-through low-cost loans, flexible terms and support.


Downstreet's work uses housing as a platform for essential services that deliver equity and social justice directly to the most foundational part of our lives: home. Downstreet is actively taking steps to create policies and practices with racial, ethnic, and economic equity in mind. The Board and Staff each have Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committees to define the organization's goals along with metrics for measuring progress.


Programs

Real Estate Development: Downstreet both rehabilitates and constructs new rental apartments throughout the three-county region, ensuring that there is a stock of permanently affordable apartments to residents. Downstreet has competed for and received project development funding from many sources, including the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Community Development Program, and the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. In addition, Downstreet has developed project equity through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program and the Historic Tax Credit Program.


Property Management & Maintenance (Affordable Apartments): Downstreet owns, manages and maintains a diverse portfolio of 448 affordable and deeply subsidized rental apartments (LIHTC, HUD Section 8, USDA RD 515, National Housing Trust Fund, HOME). Downstreet housing serves individuals and families, senior citizens, and individuals living with special needs, including the homeless, and partners with local service organizations to provide the support its residents need to succeed and to thrive. These supports include budgeting assistance and financial counseling; life skills support; assistance with accessing federal or state benefits; and counseling services.


SASH® (Support and Services at Home): The SASH Program is an innovative housing and care-coordination model for Medicare recipients who live at home. SASH brings together nonprofit housing providers, social services agencies, hospitals, and community health providers to coordinate care and provide individualized supports to seniors and people with disabilities, enabling them to live and age in place safely. Downstreet now serves 650 elderly and disabled residents in Washington, Orange and Lamoille counties.


Mobile Home Park Lots: Downstreet owns, manages and maintains four (4) mobile home park communities with 82 pads, providing stable, decent and affordable homeownership opportunities.


NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (HOC): The HomeOwnership Center assists individuals with everything from purchasing a home, pre-and post-purchase financial counseling, obtaining a home repair loan and more. In addition, affordable homeownership is available to income eligible homebuyers through the Shared Equity Program. The HOC has administered a number of pandemic-related programs as well. The Rental Rehab Re-Housing Program was established using CARES Act funding to provide grants to local landlords to correct code violations and bring vacant units back online. The focus is on providing housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. In the first two rounds, Downstreet was able to facilitate the rehabilitation of 36 apartments, helping to create much needed housing. Due to its success, Vermont is making additional funding available to continue the program in 2022. The HOC team also administers the Eviction Prevention and Housing Retention Program, which works with homeowners and renters who are behind with payments to help them get back on track.



Strategic Direction

Over the next 18 months, Downstreet will continue its work, building on more than thirty years of successful leadership in the area of affordable housing development, homeownership programs, property management, and advocacy. The overarching goals for the time period will be as follows:


Goal #1: Hire and onboard a new Chief Executive Officer

Goal #2: Preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing across the region

Goal #3: Continue to strengthen internal capacity and effectiveness, positioning the organization for long-term vitality and success.


The successful hiring and onboarding of a new leader will be the first priority for the organization. The Board will welcome and orient the new executive; make staff and community introductions; develop and implement an onboarding plan; assess supports needed by and for the new executive; and develop a workplan with priorities for the first year. A variety of supports, including training and connections to peers in Vermont, will be integrated into the year-plus-long transition process.


Downstreet will continue its critical work of preserving and increasing the supply of affordable housing in the region. Downstreet has a strong near-term rental development pipeline, as well as exciting longer-term project prospects. The pandemic has created a unique moment in Vermont, with a dramatic increase in resources dedicated to developing affordable housing. A Project Manager has recently been hired, joining Downstreet's experienced Director of Real Estate Development; a Project Assistant will be added to the department in early 2022. With an excellent track record of attracting project funding and developing crucial housing assets, Downstreet is well positioned to bring quality projects from concept to completion. In 2022, Downstreet will internally seek to refine the project selection and approval process, including the proposed addition of a Project Committee to the Board, and will seek to enhance the cross-departmental (Real Estate Development, Property Management, and Finance) vetting of new projects. In addition, Board and staff will work to refine risk management strategies for the organization.


An excellent reputation, an "exemplary" rating from NeighborWorks America, and stable finances all represent accomplishments of a hard-working and dedicated staff. Over the next 18-month period, Downstreet will focus internally in a number of areas in order to increase effectiveness and build long-term sustainability and vitality. First, an Asset Manager will be added to the organization early in 2022, and a more formal program of asset management developed. The productive Homeownership Center will prepare for its own leadership transition, and an analysis of current revenue and opportunities will inform the new staffing plan. Following a very successful capital campaign for the Barre Recovery Residence, the Donor Relations/Communications team will look to expand the donor base, increase board involvement in fundraising, and implement a proactive communications and fundraising plan. Agency wide, efforts will be focused on updating policies and developing operating procedures that will support staff transitions. The organization will determine what staff is needed for stewardship and management activities, including resident supportive service needs. Renovations will be undertaken to the office to improve soundproofing, as well as to enhance private areas and overall functionality.


The pandemic has created hardship for the people we serve, adding to stress for staff. Leadership will pay extra attention to supporting staff through this difficult time.


In late 2022, following the onboarding of a new CEO, a full strategic planning process will be launched to create a roadmap for the three-year period, 2023-2026.



Key Job Responsibilities


Board Administration & Support

  • Serve as the principal liaison between the Board and all other organizational stakeholders.
  • Maintain a Board of Directors that is fully populated with skills required to support organizational growth and operations by carrying out a program of targeted recruitment, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion.
  • Ensure that Board members receive adequate training, and provide Board members with fulfilling assignments consistent with their skills and the requirements of the organization.
  • Collaborate with the Board and Board committees to develop the vision and strategic direction for Downstreet, and to oversee the implementation of the plan itself.
  • Provide information and recommendations to the Board to help them exercise their role in policy making, fiduciary oversight, new initiatives, and program monitoring and evaluation.

Leadership and Program Delivery

  • Lead the Senior Leadership Team in the development and implementing of program, organizational and strategic plans.
  • Maintain awareness of significant developments and trends in Washington, Lamoille, and Orange Counties and the state, to identify needs, set direction, and advance the organization's goals.
  • With the Senior Leadership Team, oversee adoption and implementation of Downstreet programs, systems, and procedures to keep them current with changes in housing policy, legislation or local need.
  • Ensure that operational systems support effective operation, and support a high level of accountability throughout the organization.
  • Implement the hiring, training, and evaluation of all direct reports.
  • Maintain an organizational climate which attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse and highly qualified staff and volunteers.
  • With the CFO, oversee the administration of human resource requirements and personnel policies.
  • Ensure that job descriptions and work plans are developed, that regular performance reviews are conducted, and that industry-standard human resource practices are in place.
  • Actively seek out opportunities and resources for staff to develop skills and engage in professional development.
  • Manage Downstreet's membership as a chartered community development organization within NeighborWorks America's national network, including overseeing annual reporting requirements and applications for funding.

Resource Development and Management

  • With the CFO, develop, implement and monitor the organization's annual budget.
  • Ensure that financial policies and procedures are well documented and consistently followed.
  • Maintain diversified streams of revenue, including federal and state revenue, fee income, grant income, corporate sponsorships and local fundraising; ensure that the budget is funded and cash flow and reserves are adequate.
  • With the Board and Donor Relations Manager, work to develop annual fundraising plans and strategies and to identify, cultivate and solicit donors; build the fundraising campaign by proactively engaging with donors to make the case for financial support and to steward long-term relationships.
  • Prepare and/or supervise the preparation of grant applications and reports.

Project Development and Asset Management

  • With Real Estate Development staff identify, evaluate and oversee new development projects that meet Downstreet's mission and strategic plan, and oversee studies required to determine viability.
  • Support the preparation of applications for project funding and financing, and ensure that the terms of financing meet project goals.
  • Facilitate coordination/communication with funders in project development and management, ensuring quality projects, full compliance and timely reporting.
  • Oversee the development, approval and implementation of an annual asset management plan for the existing housing portfolio, as well as an annual capital budget for Board approval.
  • Ensure that Downstreet's portfolio is in compliance with all applicable codes and program regulations.

Community and Public Relations

  • Promote Downstreet in the community, working to maintain broad understanding and support for Downstreet's mission and services.
  • With the Donor Relations Manager and Communications Manager, ensure the organization has an effective communications strategy.
  • Maintain and build positive relationships with political, community and business leaders and media, as well as lenders, funders and other housing and service providers.
  • Oversee the development of strong relationships between Downstreet staff and residents; regularly assess resident satisfaction; and work with the Board to develop action plans for meeting the needs of residents.
  • Work at the local, state, regional and national levels on legislative issues affecting housing and advocate for the needs of Downstreet's members and those who are in need of affordable housing.

Profile of the Ideal Candidate

Experience Desired:

  • A bachelor's degree with emphasis in public or business administration, economics, planning or similar course work.
  • Multiple years of progressive, senior level staff management experience; nonprofit experience preferred.
  • Knowledge/experience with the principles and practices relating to the development of affordable housing and property management.
  • Ability to lead and direct a nonprofit agency with strong social and programmatic commitments; commitment to equity, inclusion, social and economic justice.
  • Successful experience working with an active and engaged board of directors.
  • Must have excellent interpersonal skills and be able to relate to internal and external parties professionally, representing Downstreet in a positive manner.
  • Sound knowledge of business administration practices and procedures.
  • Demonstrated competence in financial management.
  • Demonstrated success developing and implementing strategic plans.
  • Demonstrated abilities in fund raising and grant writing for nonprofit agencies.
  • Knowledge of federal and state grant programs and practices.
  • Ability to effectively delegate authority.

Skills Desired:

  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship building skills.
  • Demonstrated success developing and implementing strategic plans; high level strategic thinking.
  • Presentation skills; ability to communicate mission to staff, board, donors and community.
  • Strong organizational skills, as well as attention to detail.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgement and initiative in solving problems.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Active listening skills.
  • Ability to interpret and apply employment law.
  • Computer/technology skills.

Compensation and Benefits

The annual salary for this position is $110,000 - $140,000, based on experience, plus a comprehensive benefits package.


Applications

Please provide a cover letter, including salary requirements, as well as a current resume, a work-related writing sample, and three references with contact information. Only complete applications will be considered. Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit material as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2022.


Interested candidates should upload materials to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/

Only electronic submissions will be considered. All submissions will be held in confidence.


Downstreet Housing & Community Development is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates for this position.

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