A panel discussion about Affordable Housing
Jessie Figueroa loves to meet and help people. Growing up a military brat and moving every few years, she quickly learned how to turn a stranger into a friend. Upon graduating from the University of Central Florida, Jessie served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program as a public speaker and community organizer for homeless services.
After dedicating years to building relationships and making a difference as a nonprofit program manager in Orlando, FL, she moved to Asheville in 2015 to apply her skills in B2B Sales. Jessie has served as Senior Sales Manager, Sales Director, and Director of Business Development for a few local Asheville businesses. At the start of 2021, she combined her interest of addressing homelessness with her sales and interpersonal skills by joining the Homeward Bound of WNC Team as Housing Placement Director. In this role, partnerships with property owners and managers are nurtured to keep units filled and landlord partners supported with tenant management.
Jessie enjoys music, hiking, traveling, and spending quality time with her husband, friends, and family. She is passionate about the development of her community and working collaboratively with partners to address affordable housing gaps with plans that are mutually beneficial to all.
For the past twenty-eight (28) years, I have worked with the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, serving in different capacities, the majority of which have been in the areas of program administration as well as program design and project management with the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program specifically.
Some of the many capacities I have served in include roles within voucher admissions; housing modernization; running our resident services program, Family Self-Sufficiency; starting and running our Homeownership Program; working as a certified HUD housing inspector; working in landlord outreach; and assisting with the overall management of HCV Program.
Currently, my focus is on maintaining positive relationships with our HCV landlords and offering community outreach as a means to recruit new landlords and new affordable housing options for the program. Driven by a passion to affect positive social change, I work, along with our team at the Housing Authority, to advance solutions to the growing affordable housing crises in the Asheville-Buncombe County area.
Kate Pett is the Executive Director of Thrive Asheville. Kate and Thrive partners have catalyzed community support to create collaborative leadership on community challenges, especially affordable housing, and to establish priorities that steer growth for the benefit of all of Asheville's residents - like sustainable tourism. Our mission is to convene diverse groups from our community to learn about our challenges, and to act on solutions together.
Kate has worked at the intersection of community development, education, and equity throughout her career. Kate led the Asheville City Schools Foundation for eleven years, during which time she greatly expanded the financial, human, and programmatic resources available to teachers and students in the Asheville City Schools. Kate utilized a collective-impact approach to align more than 50 after-school providers and vastly increased the number of middle school students actively engaged in healthy, educational activities after school. Kate was also the Educational Director of a wilderness program for adjudicated youth, and a classroom teacher in inner-city Detroit and the Asheville City Schools. Kate was a community organizer in Seattle, Washington where she developed a school-based resource center for vulnerable children and families. Kate served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and Mali, supporting community education projects related to natural resources and public health. Much of what Kate knows about how to build community she learned from the villagers who generously hosted her.
Kate earned a B.A. in International Relations, with a focus on African Studies, at American University, in Washington, D.C. She also completed a Masters in Education, with a concentration in Urban Issues at the University of Michigan, where she was a Fellow.
Kate laughs often with her funny, musical husband Vince, who is a teacher and former Peace Corps Volunteer. Her children, Gabe and Juliana, are her greatest joys.
Adeline Wolfe is a real estate developer and project manager at Mountain Housing Opportunities in their community investments and rental development department.
Adeline is originally from Spartanburg, SC, and has always fostered an intense interest in the built environment and how it impacts the community. As this interest grew into a passion for affordability, Adeline completed a Master in Sustainable Real Estate Development from Tulane University where she focused on community development finance, social sustainability, and Mardi Gras.
After honing her skills in New Orleans through experience in several mission-based, affordable development firms, including Enterprise Gulf Coast, she returned to the Carolinas to join MHO's affordable rental team.
Using her expertise in financial analysis and knowledge of the development process, Adeline currently manages projects through predevelopment underwriting and into construction.