Nilaya Montalvo, HFF Deputy Director, honored with the 2018 Community Engagement Award from CHAPA.


On December 4th 2018, Nilaya stood before approximately 1,200 leaders in the housing industry to accept  the 2018 Community Engagement Award from the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association (aka CHAPA). The award was presented by Sr. Margaret Leonard, the legendary former director of Project Hope and one of the founders of Homes for Families, and by Libby Hayes, who has worked in partnership with Nilaya at HFF for over a decade. Upon accepting the award, Nilaya shared brief remarks:

I cannot thank you enough, especially since so many of you have worked alongside me on so much of the work that I am being recognized for! Mami, Cari, Jessy – thank you

What I have done is not extraordinary,

I know this because every time I meet a family who is struggling to beat back oppression…struggling to shelter their children from the elements…… from systems, from injustice….. I am reminded exactly what extraordinary is.

I want to wholeheartedly appreciate the recognition for my work, while at the same time I want to share this recognition with all of the, moms, dads , grandmothers custodial guardians that swim against the tide in an effort to protect and stabilize their families

I want to share this recognition all of the children who are faced with constant change and uncertainty that is brought on by simply being poor or housing unstable.  I wake up with them in my heart, the astronomical cost of housing is not their cross to bear and yet here we are.

In my tradition, to show support or solidarity with anyone who is oppressed, marginalized or in need, is not extraordinary but necessary for society as a whole. We understand that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Thank you and lets continue to take care of each other.

In the words of a member of the HFF Consumer Advocacy Team,

“Nilaya – Thank you for being the light and force we need in this world to be reminded of our own power and voices.  Your love for the truth is the epitome of a revolutionary!”

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