This week, Robin Hughes, President and CEO of Abode Communities, speaks with Matt about her experience and leadership in the affordable housing community. Abode Communities is a nonprofit owner, developer, and designer of affordable housing. Based in Los Angeles, the organization is one of the top 50 affordable housing developers nationally and is the premier provider of environmentally sustainable affordable housing in California. The conversation begins with a discussion on how COVID has impacted Abode’s and other affordable owner’s residents, an important dialogue as the pandemic has disproportionally affected low-income communities. Additionally, Robin shares how growing up in public housing as a young child brings a lived experience into her current role where she not only serves as the President and CEO of Abode but also serves on numerous boards and committees in the affordable housing space including as chair of the Housing Partnership Network. Robin also provides advice on how to bring more people of color into more senior roles in the commercial real estate industry.
Robin has been actively involved in affordable housing and community development for more than 30 years and in her 25 years as leader of Abode Communities. Under Robin’s leadership, Abode Communities has developed nearly 50 residential and mixed-use Communities; created new affordable homes for some 12,000 California residents and provided a social safety net through Beyond Homes, the organization’s social services program.
Robin is an industry leader in housing policy at the local, state, and federal level. She serves or has served on numerous boards, task forces and advisory bodies where she continues to advocate for resources, programs, and policies to support the production on and preservation on of affordable housing for low-income residents. Hughes was chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, a member of the JPMorgan Chase Community Advisory Board of Los Angeles, and has served on the board of directors for organizations such as Southern California Association on of Nonprofit Housing, Low Income Investment Fund, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and Mercy Housing California.
Prior to joining Abode Communities, Hughes held positions in the private and public sectors including The Richmond Group of Companies, Citibank, the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles, and the Office of the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. Her experience is highlighted by four years as City Planning Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles. Robin was recognized by Huffington Post as “Person of the Day and Women in Business as Outstanding Nonprofit Director. Robin was recognized by Commercial Observer as Top 25 Real Estate Leaders in Los Angeles. She also won Black Business Association’s Executive Leadership Award and was featured on the cover of National Real Estate Investor as “Champion of Affordable Housing”.
She received her masters and bachelor degrees in public administration from the University of Southern California, and received a certification from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Program.