Renée Dobos

Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Housing Partners.

Renée Dobos

Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Housing Partners.

Given the difficulties faced by low- and moderate-income families and the growing need for affordable housing, the significance of organizations like CHP cannot be emphasized enough. Renée Dobos stands out as a prominent name in affordable housing because of her vital role as Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Housing Partners (CHP) in tackling this pressing issue.

 

The leadership of Renée Dobos is essential to advancing CHP’s objectives. Her wealth of knowledge in property management, resident services, and affordable housing makes her an informed and committed supporter of the cause. She strengthens CHP’s capacity to stabilize and assist families with her ties in the community.

 

The recognition of Renée Dobos as one of “The Most Influential Women Leaders to Watch in 2024” underscores the impact of her work and leadership in the field of affordable housing. This recognition not only reflects her personal achievements but also highlights the importance of CHP’s role in the broader context of social change.

A Visionary Leader in the Making

Renée Dobos has a profound personal connection with the transformative power of education. Having dedicated a decade to night school at the University of New Haven, she earned her bachelor’s degree in financial accounting and later pursued an MBA from the same institution. Renée firmly believes that education is a force that empowers individuals by fostering knowledge, building confidence, and dismantling barriers to opportunity.

 

Proud of her academic achievements, Renée’s career trajectory reflects her commitment to making a positive impact. Before assuming her role at CHP, she gained valuable experience in public accounting and spent a decade at Yale University, delving into facilities management. Renée then served as the Chief Operating Officer at the New Haven Housing Authority for eight years and later became the Interim Executive Director of the Wallingford Housing Authority for two years.

 

Motivated by a desire to contribute to a cause aligned with her values, Renée joined CHP, a non-profit organization dedicated to not only providing homes but also fostering community, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity for residents to build a better future. Intrigued by the prospect of influencing the entire state of Connecticut, Renée recognized the unique model of CHP, which focuses on offering foundational resources such as healthcare access, stable and affordable housing, education, job training, and support for sustained employment.

 

Since joining CHP in 2015, Renée has overseen transformative initiatives, including the complete rehabilitation of a family development in Stamford, CT, the construction of a Congregate Assisted Living facility in Wilton, CT, and the establishment of 12 units of supportive housing in Stamford. Renée spearheaded the rebranding of the organization to Connecticut Housing Partners, marking its dedication to holistic community development.

 

Noteworthy milestones under her leadership include the acquisition of a family development in Bridgeport, the celebration of CHP’s 30th anniversary, and the purchase of land for the construction of a groundbreaking 49-unit Senior Development in Monroe, CT—the first of its kind in the town, ensuring that low-income seniors can comfortably “age in place.”

As the CEO

In the realm of affordable housing advocacy, Renée plays a pivotal role. Renée is entrusted with diverse responsibilities, including strategic planning, capital improvement, property and asset management, human resources, and financial operations. Renée’s organizational acumen and project management skills ensure the seamless daily operations of the communities.

 

Also, Renée actively engages with local financing authorities and state legislators, while annually traveling to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to tirelessly lobby Senators and Congressmen, striving to secure continued funding for congressional appropriations, particularly for NeighborWorks America and other vital aspects of affordable housing. As a chartered member of the National NeighborWorks Association, Renée contributes to early lobby efforts on spending bills and provides crucial insights to lawmakers, fostering innovation in housing solutions for rental and first-time homebuyers.

 

Furthermore, Renée writes white papers to respond to public comments at the Federal and State levels, ensuring the preservation of affordable housing. Understanding the power of collaboration, Renée emphasizes the effectiveness of a unified voice in advocacy efforts.

 

Fortunate to lead a dedicated team, Renée acknowledges the importance of stable housing in alleviating poverty and preventing homelessness. Believing in the transformative impact of taking bold chances, Renée expresses pride in the progress made and excitement for future plans. The pipeline for 2024 includes the rehabilitation of two affordable housing developments in Bridgeport and Stamford, preserving 129 and 148 units, respectively, for the next 25 years. Additionally, the organization under Renée has planned for a senior-only development in Monroe, Connecticut, housing 50 residents—an essential response to the housing affordability and homelessness crisis faced by older adults.

Securing the Future

When we asked Renée to talk about the various challenges she faces as the CEO, she shared – “The primary obstacle I consistently face involves securing funding to sustain the provision of high-quality housing options for low to moderate-income residents in Connecticut”. She continued – “Our ongoing challenge is to secure resources that enable the creation of additional affordable housing units. As a non-profit entity, our reliance on federal and state funding, coupled with tax credit programs, is crucial for maintaining low development costs”.

 

Also, through the conversation it became evident that in the realm of affordable housing, generating rental revenue poses a significant challenge due to residents typically earning less than 60% of the Area Median Income. Furthermore, as per affordability standards, only 30% of that income can be allocated to rent. To address these financial constraints, Renée and the team are actively developing a “Land Bank” initiative. “This strategic approach will empower us to swiftly seize opportunities, whether it involves purchasing land or acquiring buildings that can be repurposed, as soon as they become available”, she exclaims.

Tackling Connecticut's Housing Crisis and Expanding Affordable Living Opportunities

Renée Dobos is at the forefront of addressing the housing crisis in Connecticut, where a shortage of 92,500 affordable rental units poses a significant challenge. This issue, not unique to Connecticut, is a widespread concern across many states in the country. With numerous projects in the pipeline, Renée’s vision extends to constructing 100 affordable housing rental units annually for the next three years. This strategic initiative aims to empower families to achieve financial stability and thrive.

 

In addition to her commitment to expanding affordable housing initiatives throughout Connecticut, Renée seeks to address workforce housing needs, allowing individuals to live in proximity to their workplaces. The housing crisis has notably impacted essential workers such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, and healthcare professionals, who find it challenging to reside near their workplaces due to soaring housing costs.

Cultivating Balance

Renée Dobos finds solace and purpose in the world of gardening, a passion she actively nurtures. Beginning by cultivating seeds indoors during the winter months, Renée eagerly transfers them to outdoor spaces as the weather warms. Embracing innovation, she has ventured into hydroponic gardening, envisioning it as the future of gardening where climatic conditions and insects no longer pose obstacles. Renée perceives hydroponic gardening not only as a cost-effective method but also as a crucial tool for addressing food insecurity in low-income communities.

 

Recognizing that disadvantaged communities often lack access to fresh and nutritious produce, relying instead on processed and unhealthy options, Renée underscores the significance of hydroponic initiatives. These initiatives have demonstrated success in enhancing access to fresh produce, particularly in areas facing food insecurity.

 

In the pursuit of work-life balance, Renée sets clear boundaries, manages stress, and dedicates time to her hobbies and interests. Gardening takes precedence, consuming much of her non-work hours as she meticulously plans and tends to her garden and landscaping. Beyond her green pursuits, Renée values quality time with family and friends, making a conscious effort to disconnect from work-related activities and find rejuvenation in the simple joys of life.

Company
Connecticut Housing Partners.

Management

Renée Dobos
Chief Executive Officer

Description

For over 30 years, Connecticut Housing Partners has been developing affordable housing solutions and expanded our reach as we respond to the growing need for affordable housing throughout the state using a partnership-based approach. We specialize in developing and preserving affordable rental housing that serves low and moderate-income households, seniors, and people with special needs.

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