When Stacy Jurado-Miller’s husband, Matt Miller, asked her to start a development company with him, she wasn’t interested unless the business would work to address social justice issues through housing. He agreed, and with Kim Buche, the couple started The Vecino Group in 2011. The firm now works in 10 states, and Jurado-Miller, 38, has built several supportive residential developments for various populations facing housing instability.
“In the ideal sense, home is where you go to feel safe and have your needs met, so the idea that housing can help solve broader social issues, to me, is very natural. By taking resources from the federal and state governments and developing best practice models of what housing can and should be, you can help meet those needs. In the beginning, we led with our mission because it was our point of [differentiation]. Vecino means neighbor in Spanish. Our tag line from the onset was ‘Housing for the greater good,’ and our mission became our calling card.
“In the beginning, we were three people. We’re more than 60 people now. About a year ago, we realized the company was growing to the point that if we didn’t designate somebody to focus on the mission as if it was a development, we were going to lose the focus that had started the company. I was a fairly natural fit for that. So now I’m responsible for making sure that our mission and our culture are carried out in every employee, every development, everything we do. I think even if you are a mission-driven company and you started from a good place, you can always get better.”
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