WAHN Member Spotlight
Grace Baranowski, MPA – Community Development Advisor at Purpose Built Communities
The Women’s Affordable Housing Network recognizes our members in a new initiative to highlight the women leading the charge in the Affordable Housing industry. Today’s member spotlight is Grace Baranowski, MPA. She is a Community Development Advisor at Purpose Built Communities, where she supports local leaders implementing equitable revitalization strategies across the country. Prior to joining Purpose Built Communities, Grace served the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as Senior Housing Policy Analyst. There, Grace managed the creation, implementation, and evaluation of the State of Georgia’s multifamily affordable housing policies. As manager of the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP)—the document that annually enumerates the State’s criteria for allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)—she prioritized developments that would further a community’s redevelopment goals or place residents in areas of opportunity.
We invite you now to hear her story and why she joined the Women’s Affordable Housing Network.
Q&A with Grace Baranowski, MPA
Q1: Why did you join WAHN?
A: Throughout my career, I’ve positioned affordable housing investment as a platform for comprehensive community development, recognizing current residents as a neighborhood’s greatest asset.
Q2: What do you like best about working in the Affordable Housing industry?
A: From my time with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to now, I’m convinced that affordable, mixed-income housing strengthens a neighborhood’s infrastructure while providing a platform for residents to continue investing in themselves. I’m especially excited by housing developments that represent a reinvestment and repurposing of existing historical assets with a community.
Q3: What do you want WAHN Members to know about your work and what projects are you passionate about?
I’ve grounded my community development service in a commitment to collaboratively define best practices. In 2016, I approached the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to create the Atlanta Regional Housing Task Force, a collaborative working space for the region’s U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) grantees—cities, counties, and public housing authorities—to define a shared vision for regional affordable housing. The Task Force has since expanded to include non-HUD-grantee municipalities in the region and has served as a planning vehicle for the ARC’s regional housing strategy formation.
Q4: What other organizations and charities are you passionate about?
A: I currently serve on the AB67 board of the BeltLine, Atlanta’s largest urban redevelopment program, and am I member of the American Planning Association. My favorite charity would have to be the Atlanta Humane Society, where I adopted my terrier mix, Hank!
Q5: What are the fun things you like to do outside the office?
A: Outside the office, I pursue my passion for all things history. In addition to writing historical fiction, I design modern stationery with a vintage twist through my company, The Antiquer’s Press. You can find more information about The Antiquer’s Press in my Etsy shop located here.
Q6: Tell us a little bit about your family:
A: My partner Nick and I live in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur with our dog, Hank.