Staff Spotlight: Carla Vásquez-Noriega

February 22, 2023

February 22, 2023–OAKLAND, CA

Merritt invests in affordable housing and people to build a stronger California. Merritt has wonderful staff bringing unique skills to strive toward Merritt’s larger vision of everyone having a home in a community where they can thrive. As a People-First organization, Merritt is excited to introduce you to our staff, starting with our most recent hire, Carla Vásquez-Noriega, Investor Relations Associate.  

Why Affordable Housing 

Carla views housing from a justice approach, influenced by her academic studies and lived experience growing up in Los Angeles. Carla and her family lived in a tax credit affordable housing project and from an early age Carla knew she wanted to work in housing. When Carla was an undergraduate student at Yale, she took a class that covered the policy behind public and affordable housing, focusing on making more housing possible for people across economic status. Carla connected this with her housing justice approach as she firmly believes that everyone should have access to safe housing. Through her academic and lived experience she saw the connection between housing and stability, the positive impact of community and safe housing. Her drive and belief that everyone should have a home regardless of economic status or background took her to Urban Planning Graduate School at UCLA and has guided her career path. 

Early Career 

Carla began her affordable housing career at a non-profit developer, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, where she learned what is needed to develop and build housing.  With this valuable background in development, she found opportunities to support and finance affordable housing at LISC LA where she was an assistant program officer on the housing team, working on both on loan underwriting and program development/management. Carla worked on projects that help the industry (like Housing Development Training Institute) and helped create training programs such as Keep It Affordable Academy, geared toward building capacity of nonprofits preserving housing in neighborhoods facing gentrification.  

From program management to underwriting loans to working with industry partners and clients to policy and developer work, Carla has always approached her career with a solutions-oriented mindset to find the most impactful solutions for community and partners. She is very skilled in connecting people to resources and financing, which led her to Investor Relations work at Merritt.  

Joining Merritt  

As Merritt’s Investor Relations Associate, Carla feels that this role “is the perfect combination of looking at projects in a big picture way and providing the partner support needed.” Carla knew about Merritt and the work being done before joining the team. What intrigued and heartened Carla about Merritt was the dedication to both funding housing and building up the industry in California through industry support such as Commitment to California.  

After the launch of Commitment to California and joining the team in Fall 2022, she sees the full extent of the affordable housing industry support and the larger goals Merritt has for Commitment to California. She has been excited by the clear connection to what is happening in the affordable housing industry and views the industry support as a way to have a direct impact while simultaneously working to finance building affordable homes in California. She enjoys the geographic focus of her work at Merritt.  

Carla believes the California focus is a benefit in the housing world, “California is a unique state, it helps to have a team that is an expert in California. It means we can maximize our impact and focus more directly on housing and industry support needs.”  

Connecting With Values 

Before Merritt, Carla was already living out Merritt’s vision and values. She believes strongly in affordable housing and that everyone should have a home in a community where they can thrive. She learned more about Merritt’s vision, mission, and values in the interview process and felt they aligned with her own career goals and drive. Prioritizing work that allows everyone to have a safe, healthy home with dignity. The Openness and People-First values especially resonated with her, “we’re working within systems where people are our focus. Ultimately, we are building homes for people and our people-first value should guide us through our work, our partnerships, and the assurance of quality of life.” 

Carla has worked to understand the many aspects and challenges of affordable housing and approaches her work with passion. Merritt is incredibly lucky and grateful to have Carla on our team.  

About Merritt Community Capital Corporation

Merritt Community Capital Corporation is a nonprofit dedicated to our mission to provide equity capital for affordable housing exclusively to California. We do this by partnering with mission-aligned affordable housing developers throughout the state to ensure the most critical communities are developed and maintained for low-income residents. Since 1989, Merritt has created and/or preserved 11,000 affordable homes, through investing over $1.2 billion in 26 separate funds, providing housing for over 29,700 people.



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