HIF Happenings Q2 2020

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are living in an acute moment of challenge and controversy. It surrounds us every day and penetrates every aspect of our lives. No family, business or organization is immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the collective push toward social justice and equality. To be sure, we are not all facing equal challenges, but we are truly in this together.

That togetherness is also a source of motivation and opportunity. Our board of directors and our HIF family is showing up to do more to meet this moment at a time when by any measure, it’s harder to give resources and time. On March 17th, the first day of the lockdown, our Executive Committee simply said: “This is what this organization was built for, we will step up for the community.” And we have. HIF has assisted more families through May 31st than all of 2019 and we will continue to do so.

As protests for racial equality and justice grew across the country, the HIF staff expressed their passion and desire to help deepen HIF’s impact and to reach for more communities in need. We codified it with a staff mission statement that we shared with our network. More than just an expression of frustration or anxiety during a challenging time, it is the beginning of a path forward to strengthen our organization and provide our HIF Family an opportunity to join us on this journey.

This newsletter is actually not a report on our programs and impact. It is a celebration of our collective will to not turn toward comfort, but meet these challenges head on, to grow and to create more opportunity and support for our communities.

Now more than ever, we need each other to carry forward this great mission. Because now more than ever, we are truly Stronger Together.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for standing with us and those we serve.

Steve Sullivan
Executive Director

Emergency Housing Fund (EHF)/COVID-19 Fund

Thanks to our all of our COVID-19 Fund supporters including:

Jim Morley (JSM Enterprises), Tod Spieker (Spieker Companies), Windy Hill Property Ventures, Zelle & Associates, Adam Berry, Equity Residential, Prodesse Property Management, Peter Dessau, David Kleiman and Acacia Capital.

Through the hundreds of stories we have learned these last few months, we have gained a deeper appreciation for the challenges our communities face, the resiliency our grantees and the importance of the EHF Fund.

2020 Q2 EHF Snapshot

  • 500 applications received
  • 300 households (800 individuals) assisted
  • $500,000 in assistance dispersed

EHF Spotlight

Through our darkest moment came a glimmer of hope...

A week into having the kids, tested positive for COVID-19. I was completely devastated having to once again scramble to find someone to care for them as i had to quarantine. In the midst of this chaos I was patiently waiting for my unemployment to kick in and that help hadn’t arrived.

Jenny Chavez (50) and her daughter Brianna (25), both frontline essential workers in healthcare, were infected with the virus and were furloughed from their jobs.

Read about their story here and see it featured on KPIX’s Project Home:

Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI)

HIF launched its latest Homeless Prevention Program in 2019 and connected over 30 working families and essential workers to affordable housing. Despite the pandemic limiting our ability to grow this program, we have continued to move forward and are on pace to have at least 50 families enrolled in the program in 2020.

100% of our housing provider partners have renewed their support for our participants to continue on for a second year of saving up to $14,000 a year in rent. In total, our AHI partners and landlords will contribute almost $740,000 of in-kind rental savings to this program.

The Affordable Housing Initiative seeks to support essential workers in the education, nonprofit and healthcare sectors, as well as first responders and other public benefit jobs. Our goal is to allow these workers, who are the glue of our communities, to stay close to their jobs, educing long commutes and improving their quality of life and financial health.

HIF is excited to welcomes new AHI partners!:

  • Rutherford Investments
  • Greystar

2019 Q2 EHF Snapshot

  • 100 Applications to date – 33 families placed
  • $14,000 average yearly tenant savings
  • $462,000 in market rate savings
  • 100% Year 2 renewals!
  • AHI Partners: ABL Properties, AvalonBay Communities, Casco Property, Essex Property Trust, Prometheus, Raintree Partners, Sares-Regis, Sequoia Equities, Strom Properties, Windy Hill Property Ventures

AHI Tenant Spotlight

I would love to be a part of this program as I can see how it can benefit people like me who are working really hard to change their past by doing what they can to better their future.

This program will impact my household tremendously because I would be able to fully focus on my job, without the constant worry of my sister telling me to move out and I would be able to give 110% to the clients that I have because I would be in a better state mentally.

HIF is inspired by AHI participant Shanique Walker and the hard work she is putting in to build her career and life in the Bay Area. Please read the letter Shanique sent along with her application.

Renovations Program

When faced with stress, frustration and symptoms of mental illness, it is the quiet and serene environments that bring us back to our true selves...”

– Lynn Groff, Director of Residential Services (Caminar/Redwood House)

HIF is grateful to our industry partner and long time supporter, BellaVista Landscape Services for their beautiful work at Caminar in Redwood City which included a full renovation of Caminar’s outdoor garden and reflection space donating all labor, design and materials. We support Caminar’s long history of providing critical behavioral health and supportive services to individuals and families throughout the Bay Area.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, HIF shifted most of its Renovation budget to support our Emergency Housing Fund.

Because of the support of our fantastic board members and vendors, we are currently renovating five low income apartments for St. Francis Center in Redwood City.

Thanks to key project sponsors without whom this project would not be possible: IBI, Inc., HD SupplyAquaTek, Pacific Home Decor, A Touch of Stone, ATI, Interstate Equities Corporation, Kelly-Moore, Windy Hill Property Ventures and WL Butler Construction. We’ll keep you updated as this project progresses.

HIF renovation projects have a profound impact on both the community agency being served and participating Corporate Champions and vendors. Click here to learn more about HIF Renovation Projects.

For more information on HIF’s Renovation Program or to get involved, contact Steve Sullivan: steve@hifinfo.org



Inas Elmashni-Atawneh

Please join us in celebrating HIF’s Director of Housing Programs Inas Elmashni-Atawneh’s 5 Year Anniversary. Her unyielding commitment to the families we serve is the backbone of HIF.


Monica Bloom

HIF is happy to welcome our new Director of Development, Monica Bloom. Monica brings to HIF over 20 years of marketing and per expertise and we are excited to have her help us lead HIF into our next era of impact.


Clara Matthews

Clara comes to HIF with a background in Urban Planning Research. Her work focuses on social equity, with an emphasis on housing and transport accessibility. Having recently been awarded her MSc from the University of London, she looks forward to growing HIF’s program potential and giving back to her community.

Board Corner

HIF thanks Scott Bales of JLL and Brian Moore of Bella Vista Landscape Service for their commitment to our mission as they step off our board. We look forward to continuing to engage Scott and Brian in our mission through our events and other HIF projects.

Please welcome Jason Morvay, of HD Supply. Jason returns to our board with great energy and enthusiasm for helping us expand our mission and programs (see Renovation Programs to learn how Jason has jumped right in giving our project in Redwood City a real boost).

HIF On The Move

With the stay at home order and the uncertainty about returning to our office full-time, HIF will be working remotely for the remainder of the year and will work with our executive committee to find new, more cost effective office space in early 2021. Our mailing address for the remainder of 2020 will be:
1017 El Camino Real, #514, Redwood City, California 94063

And we can still be reached at info@hifinfo.org or 650-437-2980.

Save the Date! HIF’s Virtual September Summit:

Please join us on 9/24/2020 at 5:00 PM for HIF’s first Virtual September Summit!
Keep your eyes peeled for more details coming soon!