Rebecca Louie, Wakeland Vice President & COO
San Diego Influential Women 2019 : Rebecca Louie
by Tony Lovitt
San Diego Daily Transcript
February 27, 2019
SAN DIEGO - For many years, homelessness and an affordable housing shortage have been major problems in San Diego. But Louie and Wakeland Housing and Development Corp. are making a difference, building and overseeing affordable housing for many who would otherwise be living on the streets.
"I was working as a planner at SANDAG [in 2004] and met my current boss, [Wakeland] president Ken Sauder," said Louie, who has a bachelor's degree in urban studies and planning from UC San Diego and a master's in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. "He was on one of my housing committees, and he asked me if I would like to actually be involved in building housing, instead of talking about it."
As Wakeland's COO, Louie has comprehensive oversight of all its properties, from conceptualization through operations.
"I oversee our property management firms and make sure that our properties are well run," she said. "I also oversee our resident services department."
Louie cited Talmadge Gateway, a 60-home community for formerly homeless seniors with chronic health conditions, and the 205-unit Atmosphere in downtown San Diego, Wakeland's first high-rise development, as a couple of the company's most notable developments.
"I think my proudest professional accomplishment has been helping the company go from doing traditional affordable housing and now - moving into supportive housing - to build housing for people who've experienced homelessness, or might be suffering from mental illness, or have health problems," said Louie.
The Anchorage, Alaska, native created the Supportive Housing Operations Network and helped form the Resident Services Support Network, both of which share best practices with professionals in the affordable housing industry. She said doing supportive housing is definitely harder and more challenging than doing traditional affordable housing, but also incredibly rewarding.
"When you really see what can happen with someone when they have a home that they know they get to stay in, it's just incredible," said Louie. "It really is the solution to so many problems."