When Carley Ruff left the NC Housing Coalition in 2014, I faced a dilemma. Where was I going to find another policy director with both Carley’s specific knowledge of housing and broader knowledge of advocacy?
Meanwhile, I had already had a couple meetings with a young man named Samuel Gunter who was working for Wake Habitat. He had a background as a Baptist preacher, so he was engaging, charming, and able to move a room. However, he was not interested in moving the room for the sake of it – he was trying to move them into action. He had a deep knowledge of housing issues and was using that to build his advocacy and policy skills. And for some reason, I kept seeing him everywhere.
After a year of searching for a new policy director, I realized he was right under my nose. In the fall of 2015, Samuel Gunter came to work for the Coalition as the new Director of Policy and Advocacy.
Samuel jumped right into the work with excitement and enthusiasm. He became a resource for our Developers Council and a fixture in the General Assembly. He took on the task of supervising our fledgling local and regional policy advocacy while learning the broader economic opportunity and community development work we were taking on at the Coalition. He has thrived.
As many of you know by now, I was recently elected the District Attorney of NC Prosecutorial District 15A (Durham County). I am humbled that the people of Durham County have entrusted me with this awesome opportunity. I am also saddened that this will mean I am leaving the NC Housing Coalition. Over the last five years, it has been my honor to work to make sure that every North Carolinian has a safe, decent, affordable place to live. It has been in the pursuit of this mission that I have come to understand the tremendous systemic changes that must take place in order for that to become a reality. Our neighborhoods and communities cannot be safe while some of us have nowhere to live. And some of us will never have a place to live until our neighborhoods and communities are safe.
I thank you all for helping me break down these barriers for the last five years. I could not have done this work without your support.
All this means this is my last Housing Matters. Beginning, July 1, Samuel Gunter will become the Interim Executive Director of the NC Housing Coalition. I will be around until August 1 to help him make the transition. Please reach out to Samuel and offer him congratulations and support. The very best way to show your support is to join the Coalition or make a donation. I look forward to seeing the great things the Coalition accomplishes under Samuel’s leadership. And if you’re ever in Durham, stay out of trouble.