For over 27 years, the president and CEO of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County Lori Gay, has served local residents, businesses and government representatives to help improve neighborhood quality and revitalize communities.
Her passion from for helping others stems from Psalms 1 which allows her to focus on living a “godly life,” giving more than she takes and serving more people every day.
Prior to delving into her career with NHS, Gay worked in healthcare marketing with Maxicare. Throughout her life, Gay longed to pursue her dreams of working in community development but had a hard time breaking into the field. Later, Gay closed the door at Maxicare and landed an administrative job at NHS which eventually led her to holding her current position.
NHS has helped strengthen communities for over 30 years through quality affordable housing, creating affordable homeownership opportunities, supporting local leaders, providing financial education and more.
“We try to help people get into affordable home ownership and stay there. We run a number of businesses and product lines that help facilitate that,” said Gay.
According to Gay NHS is known for five key business lines that involve financial education and counselling, affordable mortgage lending services, construction services and management, mission-driven real estate and neighborhood revitalization and advocacy.
“Through all of those varying services, NHS overtime has become the nation’s largest affordable homeownership provider,” said Gay. “People know us for being one of the largest financial counselling entities in the country because of the volume of counselling work we do.”
Recently, NHS opened the Center for Sustainable Communities in Compton. The center will provide an array of services for the city of Compton, Lynwood, Gardena, South Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“It’s a lot more than housing now and it takes more than housing to make a neighborhood great. We are excited; I think there is a lot to get done and we are looking forward to serving well,” said Gay.
Gay expressed the need for housing services like NHS in the Black community.
“Families don’t always have the information they need in the Black community to make the best choices. Banks, credit unions and other financial services companies, tell me all the time they have a hard time reaching Black people,” said Gay. “I am interested in getting them the knowledge they need to be able to make their own choices and I hope they make wise ones. But if we don’t get people the information, then by definition, we are cutting them off from making choices that may be the best option for themselves and their families. Let’s make every opportunity and take every opportunity to give it our best shot so that the Black community has equal access and treatment and affordable response to their needs.”
NHS Los Angeles future business goals include reaching communities of color with affordable home loans and property, small business lending and access. The non-profit homeownership provider has discussed building three additional Centers for Sustainable Communities to allow community members to have access the center and any services it has including but not limited to youth employment, after school programs, vision and health clinic and a garden that serves healthy food.
“We are trying to make sure that we make available in our own community, access to critical and high preforming opportunities, to give people the hand up that they need,” said Gay. “Our goal is to be able to eliminate any excuse from anybody of not serving the Black community and not being available to them.”
For more information on the programs and services available in your community, please visit the official NHS website at http://www.nhslacounty.org/