Leadership Profile: Brian Reilly
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Each month Housing Colorado profiles a member volunteer who serves on a committee or another volunteer opportunity. This profile features members who have shown great commitment to the mission of Housing Colorado.
July 2018 Leadership Profile: Brian Reilly
Brian Reilly is a Development Director with Volunteers of America. Working alongside Doug Snyder, he is responsible for development and preservation of affordable housing in the Western Region with a focus on Colorado and Alaska. Prior to joining VOA, Mr. Reilly was Development Specialist at National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT). Mr. Reilly has previously done work for the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Environmental Law and Policy Center. His affordable housing experience includes the development of over 900 total Low Income Housing Tax Credit units using a variety of funding sources including Tax Exempt Bonds, HUD programs, FHLB AHP, CDBG, and HOME funds. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Policy with a concentration in housing from Northwestern University. He serves on the Housing Colorado young professionals committee.
How did you end up in affordable housing?
During my undergraduate studies I volunteered weekly in the kitchen at Cornerstone Community Outreach, a homeless shelter in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Talking to the clients there made it clear to me how critical affordable housing is to a community and started me down the path I am on now. From there I interned for the National Low Income Housing Coalition before moving more into the finance and development side of housing.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love working with my affordable housing colleagues to solve tough problems. Helping create housing for those who are the most vulnerable in our society motivates me even when the work is hard.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is anticipating the wide variety of obstacles that can arise during the lifecycle of an affordable development. In my role guiding a project from acquisition to 8609, there are always new challenges to overcome, regardless of the complexity of the deal.
How did you get involved with Housing Colorado?
I got involved with Housing Colorado through the recommendation of Doug Snyder at VOA and my general interest in the policy side of affordable housing. I understand how critical it is for advocacy organizations to work hand in hand with developers to support policies and programs that benefit affordable housing.
How do you currently serve Housing Colorado and what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I currently serve on the Young Professionals committee helping plan events for young professionals working in Colorado affordable housing. It has been fun for me to assist in charting a course for this new committee and I have been grateful for all the new peers I have had a chance to meet.
What are some exciting progressions or projects currently going on in your work?
We recently closed on Brandon Courtyards, an exciting new development in the Sloans Lake neighborhood. Built on a legacy site for Volunteers of America, this project will offer permanent supportive housing units as well as apartments for working families. We have just started demolition and I can’t wait for our vision to take shape.
What project, program or undertaking are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of my work to fund Meadows at Montbello, a Volunteers of America property that was completed in 2017. We were able to provide a truly beautiful building with generous amenities for aging seniors in Denver.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
As exhausting as it can be sometimes, it is important to never underestimate the power of networking. Speaking face-to-face with people in the industry helps make important connections that can end up being vital to your work and career.
Who has been an instrumental mentor through your career so far or who do you look up to?
I was lucky enough to spend the first few years of my career working for David Lennon at NAHT. He was able to give me a crash course in structuring affordable housing developments so that they are poised for financial success. My current boss and mentor, Doug Snyder at VOA, has helped make my transition to Colorado smooth and has extensive experience in all things related to development and construction.
What website(s) do you find useful in your work?
On the advocacy side I often visit the Housing Colorado and the National Low Income Housing Coalition websites for the latest news at both the state and federal level. For day to day work duties, I mostly frequent Novogradac and HUD web pages.
If you were given the chance to go on a vacation to any place of your choosing, where would you go and what would you do?
My current number one future travel destination is New Zealand. I love hiking and the natural beauty there is unparalleled. As a big Lord of the Rings fan, I hope to one day have the opportunity to visit the filming locations they used in the movies, especially Hobbiton.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Colorado?
My favorite local joint has got to be Tortas Grill on Colfax in Denver. They have the best sandwiches in town and the folks who own it are very welcoming.
What book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?
I just started Underworld by Don DeLillo. It has a sweeping scope and I really enjoyed White Noise by DeLillo so I expect this book will be great as well. The famous opening sequence really lived up to the hype which bodes well for the rest of the novel.