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Robin Hughes, President and CEO, Abode Communities

Los Angeles Other

The demise of California's redevelopment agencies has taken a toll on affordable housing development, but Robin Hughes, who heads one of SoCal's oldest providers of affordable housing (founded in 1968) still manages to get the job done. Robin (right, with Revitalize Reseda's Nancy Sweeney and LA City Councilman Bob Blumenfield at the opening this year of Abode's Riverwalk at Reseda) estimates that within the next 12 to 14 months, Abode will start construction and rehab on close to 500 units. Robin tells us that Abode came out of the community design center movement of the 1960s, when architects provided pro bono services for socially beneficial projects. In the '80s, the org started to do real estate development but continues to have an in-house architectural studio. Robin knew early in her career that she wanted to do something in real estate development, with a focus on turning communities around. The best part of her job: visiting with the families who live in Abode properties--which also offer strong resident services programs--and hearing their stories about how it's been life-changing. For example, a woman living in her car with her grandson moved into an Abode development that offers on-site child care, enabling her to go back to school and increase her employability. Kids whose families were crowded into a small apartment are so happy to have their own bedroom where they can study. Outside of work, she likes hiking, Pilates, reading and spending time with family.