Transformative CEO Put Affordable Housing Within Reach of Arlingtonians and Residents of Greater Washington Region
Arlington, VA, March 30, 2021 – Longtime CEO of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing Nina Janopaul will retire June 30, 2021, after a remarkable 14-year career at the helm of the organization, leading APAH through a period of transition and rapid expansion. The APAH Board has appointed Executive Vice President Carmen Romero to lead APAH into its ambitious next phase of growth and service. Ms. Romero takes over leadership of APAH as its new President and CEO on July 1, 2021.
During her tenure, Ms. Janopaul led APAH from the Great Recession of 2008 through a period of exponential growth. Ms. Janopaul joined APAH in 2007, rounding out a full-time staff of three. Since then, APAH has grown to an organization of 38 full-time professionals. Ms. Janopaul also oversaw a rapid increase in its affordable housing facilities, from 534 units to 1,800—and there are an additional 1,000 units in active development.
Ms. Janopaul’s signature achievement at APAH has been shepherding the small but mighty organization in financial dire straits into a regional leader in affordable housing, and a national exemplar. Today, APAH is recognized as one of the top 50 affordable housing developers in the nation.
When Ms. Janopaul assumed leadership of APAH in 2007, the organization managed 534 units but struggled with a negative net worth of $2.2 million. With two construction projects underway just at the onset of the 2008 lending crisis, Ms. Janopaul spent her first two years as CEO working to protect APAH from insolvency.
Her work, and the commitment of her staff, paid off: APAH bounced back from the Great Recession and has grown to a total asset value of more than $525 million today. APAH has also grown in scope and influence over the last 14 years. While the original geography was limited to Arlington, APAH has become a regional organization, thanks to its success and capacity to do more—and to impact more lives.
“Nina has led APAH’s remarkable growth through talent, tenacity, and building an incredible team,” said APAH Board Chair Susan Ingraham Bell. “All of us on APAH’s Board are honored to have partnered with Nina in building this organization to meet the growing need for affordable housing, to provide transformative services to our residents, and to be advocates for equity and opportunity.”
To ensure APAH’s continued growth, effective execution, and mission impact, APAH’s Board of Directors appointed Carmen Romero as APAH’s next President and CEO on July 1, 2021. Ms. Romero has led APAH’s real estate team for nearly a decade. She joined the small real estate group in 2011, bringing expertise honed at Clark Construction, Marriott International, and an MBA from the Wharton School. Working with Ms. Janopaul, Ms. Romero built APAH’s reputation as a best-in-class developer of complex new construction, infill projects, and ambitious entitlements.
“Carmen has a commitment to the APAH mission, a strong drive to achieve, and incredible talent for building a shared vision among stakeholders and partners,” said Ms. Janopaul. “She understands the details, but she gets the big picture. I know Carmen will bring great success to APAH, as she has already demonstrated in her award-winning leadership of the Real Estate Team.”
Before June 30th, Ms. Janopaul has a busy workplan. “Beyond guiding the transition, I am focusing my energy on few key priorities: finding a sustainable way to provide high quality internet to all of our residents; scaling our practices to serve an organization that is far larger and more complex than when I started; and, advancing APAH’s work on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” During her retirement, Ms. Janopaul will continue to serve on several housing boards and look for opportunities to make a difference in the community.
“It has been my privilege, the highlight of my professional career, to serve as the APAH CEO,” she said. “What we do is real, affecting real people. As I drive around Arlington and beyond, I invariably pass an APAH building. These buildings will endure. I rejoice that the 4,500 residents we house today are experiencing greater comfort and opportunity by living in an APAH property. I am especially proud of how we were able to support our residents during this pandemic, during inequitable challenges of unemployment and health impacts. We are all shaped by where we live. It has been my honor to improve that experience for so many of our low-income neighbors.”
About APAH: APAH’s mission is to develop, preserve, and own quality, affordable places to live; to promote stability and opportunity for our residents; and to advocate with the people and communities we serve. Founded in 1989, APAH now helps more than 1,800 households live in stable, secure and affordable rental homes. APAH has 500 affordable apartments under construction and an additional 1,000 in its development pipeline. APAH’s Columbia Hills Apartments, received the 2019 ULI Washington Trends Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing. And both Columbia Hills and Gilliam Place, APAH’s newest project, were recognized as Virginia’s Best Affordable Housing project by Virginia Housing. In 2020, APAH was named one of the nation’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers by Affordable Housing Finance magazine.