MiraCosta College launches affordable housing management program

By Kristen Huyck

Beginning this fall, MiraCosta College will launch a new, free program leading to a certificate of completion in affordable housing management. The program will prepare students to enter the workforce at the management level in a quickly growing industry that is eager for more and diverse applicants.

Findings from the 2022 California Housing Partnership’s (CHP’s) annual Affordable Housing Needs Report released this week indicate trends that further justify the need for this program. The study showed that the number of affordable housing units built in 2021 increased by 43% compared to the previous year.

“We have heard from our members who build affordable housing that there is a clear need for staff to manage and maintain these homes. These are good paying jobs that benefit the communities that need career opportunities the most. This study demonstrates the value of the MiraCosta College certificate program,” said Stephen Russell, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Federation. “While it is good news that the number of homes built for those in need went up, we have a long way to go before we meet demand.”

The San Diego Region needs to build an additional 171,685 units by 2029 in order to meet its regional needs. At the same time, in San Diego the income needed to afford the average asking rent went up 20% to $7,510 per month last year.

The certificate program was created through a unique collaboration between MiraCosta College’s short-term career preparation program and the San Diego Housing Federation, the region’s strongest advocate for more affordable housing.

The San Diego Housing Federation plans to offer four informational sessions throughout the county in the coming months to inform potential students and industry mentors about the program. The program also will target traditionally underserved communities for prospective students who can utilize the program to build a career that will have a positive impact in their neighborhood.

Erica Duran, chair of the noncredit and short-term career preparation program at MiraCosta College, explains there is a huge demand for property managers, especially those who have formal training for the job.

Two four-week courses, both offered for free, are required to obtain a certificate of completion. Each course will be limited to 20 students, so learners can complete the certificate as a cohort.

Gaining real-world skills

The first course, Introduction to Affordable Housing Management, introduces students to property management and leadership with an emphasis on affordable housing and multi-family properties. Students will learn about the laws and regulations governing affordable housing. They will complete coursework and activities modeling real-world scenarios and will learn from current and former industry professionals serving as volunteer mentors.

The second course, Emerging Leaders in Affordable Housing Management, expands on the skills from the first course. It prepares students to complete financial reports and documents needed by property managers and to develop effective relationships with various stakeholders. Each student will also be partnered with a mentor from the industry who will help them to develop advanced leadership and problem-solving strategies.

In spring 2023, thanks to a Strong Workforce grant, MiraCosta will be offering free tuition to up to 40 students from the affordable housing management classes to continue and complete three real estate exam preparation courses in community education at MiraCosta College.

Students who choose to complete both the affordable housing management and real estate prep courses could complete both their certificate of completion and sit for their DRE Real Estate license exam within one semester.

Kristen Huyck

is the director of public and governmental relations, and  marketing and communications at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California.