Leadership Profile: Craig Maraschky
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Posted by: Dora Grace
Each month we profile a member volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding support for Housing Colorado's mission, either by serving on a committee or contributing their time and energy in other ways.
||Craig Maraschky has served on the Board of Housing Colorado since 2017. He currently serves on the Governance Committee and Chairs the Legislative Committee. Craig has been the Executive Director of the Aurora Housing Authority (AHA) since 2008. AHA serves 10,000 individuals through a variety of housing and related programs including 2,000 Housing Choice Vouchers and 850 units of rental housing. Craig also serves on the Board of the Colorado Chapter of NAHRO and serves on two National NAHRO Committees.
How did you end up working in affordable housing?
I came to Denver in 1993 to start my Masters in City Planning at UCD and was fortunate enough to get an internship at the City and County of Denver in the Housing Programs Section, working on Denver’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS). Melissa Stirdivant hired me and now we work together at AHA. I guess the rest is history as they say.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Seeing things we talk about at the Housing Authority become reality. I’m very fortunate to work with an incredibly dedicated group of people, and they continue to amaze me.
How did you get involved with Housing Colorado?
The first conference I went to was in 1995, before the merger that resulted in the Housing Colorado we know today. Over time I just became more involved in things.
How do you currently serve Housing Colorado, and what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
For some crazy reason they asked if I was interested in being on the Board a few years ago, and it has been a really great experience. There are a lot of smart people working in our field, so having more opportunities to engage with all of them is great.
What are some exciting progressions or projects currently going on in your work?
I’d have to say the new money that the General Assembly approved this past session is the most exciting thing I’ve seen in my years of working in affordable housing in Colorado. The infusion of money is so needed, and there are a lot of great agencies that are ready to put those funds into action. In Aurora, we are looking at some innovative ways to serve young adults coming out of foster care as well as homeless individuals with those funds.
What website(s) do you find useful in your work?
I wish I had some exciting answer, but sadly it’s Google.
What project, program or undertaking are you most proud of and why?
Probably my first real, paid, full-time job in housing when I was a housing programs specialist in Arapahoe County in 1994. I developed and operated a homeownership and single family rehabilitation program. I enjoyed working directly with the families. I would go to the closings, and some of the families were so excited to buy their first home. It was really special to be a part of that process.
Who has been an instrumental mentor through your career so far, or who do you look up to?
First my parents. I was the youngest of five kids, and my mother worked full-time night shifts at a hospital. How she kept it all together is beyond me. Also my father, in a very different way. He was a World War II combat Vet and served with the 82nd Airborne in Europe. He suffered from post-traumatic stress but got up every day, went to work, and did the best he could. I got to see what dealing with mental illness is all about. Consequently, he is one of the people that motivates me to try and help people that might seem different on the outside but are really just trying to get by in the best way they can.
A lot of people have been so helpful to me professionally. I’d have to say Mark Welch has to be one of the smartest people I have had the pleasure of working with during my years in the business.
There are so many other friends in the industry that I call for help, including Don May, Elizabeth Gundlach Neufeld, and Tami Fischer. Those are just a few of a long list of friendships that I’ve made over the years.