The TransForm team is growing and we are thrilled to introduce you to our new Housing Policy Manager, Grecia Mannah-Ayon! In addition to housing advocacy, she worked at MTC in the Regional Early Action Planning grants program, served as a technical assistance provider at Enterprise Community Partners working with the state’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, and helped design and implement a community grants program for HOPE SF through the San Francisco Foundation. We’re lucky to have someone with the breadth of experience and unique perspective that Grecia brings to the team.
What are you most excited about jumping into first here at TransForm?
Transform is in somewhat of a renaissance era and I’m excited to be here in a moment of great growth and discovery. I absolutely love working with others and partnering with other organizations to dream up and execute ideas for better, more connected communities in the Bay Area and beyond. It takes a tremendous amount of partnership to create change and I’m super excited to dive into the many collaborative bodies of work we are deep into and to contribute to solutions toward better housing, better mobility, and better accessibility.
What led you to the wonderful world of housing policy?
I grew up in a Central American immigrant neighborhood where housing instability was the norm, but equitable housing policies such as rent control allowed for my family to remain housed. Once I began my academic career I came to understand in a classroom setting what I already knew to be true: housing matters, and connected and accessible communities are healthy communities. When I recently took a year away from the workforce to attend to family matters, I evaluated whether I wanted to pivot my career path but I landed where I left off because I feel deeply connected to this work.
What propelled you into making this your career?
My first job out of undergrad was with a small nonprofit affordable housing developer in Sacramento. I was a community organizer and worked directly with residents on organizing around matters that were important to them, whether it be related to legislation or a community event. I remember community members sharing with me that they felt empowered as we organized our events together. That was a small win, but it stayed with me.
What hopeful signs do you see related to housing?
A subtle indicator of progress for me is watching more conservative cities in the Bay Area adopting renter protection policies.
You’re at a party with non-policy folk: how do you explain what you do and why?
I’m part of an organization that advocates for affordable housing and better public and active transportation options. I’m here to create policies that support affordable housing and connected communities because stable and affordable housing is a huge component for equitable and healthy communities.
What’s your favorite way to get from Point A to Point B in the Bay Area?
I like to ride the bus or train. I’m able to slow down, enjoy the view, and people watch.
You’re playing tour guide for out-of-towners, where are you going?
I love taking friends and family from out of town to the Oakland Museum of California. It’s a wonderful museum with great exhibits that are both permanent and rotating and it has a beautiful garden area where you can soak up some sunshine. If they really want to see San Francisco, I go full tourist and take them on a Big Bus tour or a bay cruise.
What do you do for fun?
I love to read. Growing up, my parents would take me to the library often because it was an affordable activity, it nourished my mind, and most importantly, it was air conditioned. I also love going to the movie theater, going wine tasting, and introducing my kids to new places and experiences.