Affordable housing leader will depart agency |

Affordable housing leader will depart agency

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunExecutive Director Rachelle Pellissier of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe is stepping down at the end of the year.

One of Truckee-Tahoe’s leading affordable-housing advocates is stepping down at the end of the year.

Rachelle Pellissier, executive director of the Workforce Housing Association of Truckee Tahoe, will leave her position Dec. 31 after four years at the helm of the housing-advocacy agency.

“She should be proud of what she’s done and what she’s left us,” said Executive Director Pat Davison of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, and a member of the workforce housing association’s board. “She’s leaving us great projects and great momentum.”

Pellissier cited the time she spent commuting from her Reno home to the nonprofit’s office in Truckee as the principal reason for her decision to leave the agency.

Tom Ballou, the association’s housing services director, said Pellissier has taken the nonprofit from a grass-roots group to a partner in affordable housing by building relationships with local developers and government agencies.

Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said the agency’s expanded mission was one of Pellissier’s biggest contributions.

“I think the most important aspect of her tenure is when WHATT shifted focus a great deal from an advocacy group to an organization geared to really do things, from qualifying buyers and tenants to partnering with development,” Lashbrook said.

Pellissier was also critical in creating the working relationship and eventually the contract between the Town of Truckee and the association, said John McLaughlin, community development director.

Pellissier said she is happy with her time at the association, but also looks forward to working closer to home in Reno.

“This community has become my home, and I will miss the interaction with people I’ve met here,” she said. Looking ahead, Pellissier said she hopes to see the nonprofit expand affordable housing at different affordability price brackets.

“It would be nice to provide affordable housing for all income levels,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to have nice housing and because a family makes $10 too much, they don’t have that available.”

She said she would be involved in finding her replacement and, if the opportunity exists, would like to stay involved in the affordable-housing mission.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into this organization,” Pellissier said. “I’m one of the founding organizers and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”

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