Low-income housing developer Rodney Fernandez is one of six community leaders selected from across the country to participate in a fellowship program launched this year to promote the creation of affordable housing and community development.
Fernandez, executive director of the Saticoy-based Cabrillo Economic Development Corp., was named to the inaugural class of the James A. Johnson Community Fellows program during a ceremony Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The program honors Johnson's leadership and service as chairman of the Fannie Mae Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to revitalize neighborhoods and create affordable homeownership.
Fernandez will receive a $70,000 grant--plus a $20,000 stipend for travel and study--to pursue a yearlong professional development program. He will take a sabbatical to participate in the program.
"This individual award is really a team tribute to the years of hard work by [Cabrillo] board members, staff and many public and private partners," Fernandez said in a prepared statement. "I am honored to be selected in the first fellowship program in our field and look forward to this unique professional growth opportunity."
Fernandez has led the nonprofit Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. for the last 22 years. He has helped develop 750 units of low- and moderate-income housing in nine Ventura County communities.
Before joining that organization, he led the Cabrillo Investment Assn., which helped in the creation of Cabrillo Village, a former farm labor camp developed as a farm-worker-owned housing cooperative.