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Retiring CEO receives recognition for affordable housing work

By Megan Wehring

Austin Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty housing. CEO Phyllis Snodgrass has been devoted to living out that mission, and she has recently been recognized for her achievements. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Austin announced that Snodgrass was named the recipient of the annual Vision Award. The award recognizes an individual who has “made an outstanding contribution in his or her lifetime within the Austin region.” 

Phyllis Snodgrass

Snodgrass has been a leader in community engagement across Central Texas for over two decades and has been firmly committed to positive change for families and communities in Austin and throughout Texas – this includes her community of Wimberley.  For the past six years at Austin Habitat, she has turned her talents to one of the most critical issues facing the Austin area: affordable housing. 

“[Austin Habitat] deals with one of the most pressing issues facing the area and that is affordable housing,” Snodgrass said. “It does it in a way that connects people to the issue. The ability to actually be a part of the process changes the community’s perspective on affordable housing. Getting to meet a future homeowner and just see how hard they work –  that it’s not just given to them but they’ve earned it – it changes people’s perspectives.”

Snodgrass has led the organization to ongoing growth, allowing Austin Habitat to continue supporting more families in need despite challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and escalating homebuilding costs. Under her leadership, Austin Habitat has expanded into a five-county area. It has increased the provision of high-quality, affordable new homes, critical home repairs for seniors and other homeowners struggling to remain independent, and HUD-certified housing counseling that empowers community members to become successful homeowners and reach other life goals.

“It’s really been a joy,” Snodgrass said. “The affiliate serves, with San Marcos added in, we’ve built about 535 homes within the last 37 years. We sailed north of 500 homes a couple of years ago and really have had an extraordinary run.”

The recognition does not stop at the Vision Award.

A week later on Sept. 21, Snodgrass was presented with a key to the city of Austin by Mayor Steve Adler during a celebration for a new home from Austin Habitat for Humanity.

Snodgrass announced her retirement from her current position earlier this year and plans to leave the role when her replacement is hired formally. The transition is expected to happen in November 2022. 

She will continue her work as a new member of the leadership team at the San Antonio-based C12 Group – which is a membership organization for Christian CEOs and executives that offers services designed to align focus on revenue generation, operations management, financial management, and organizational development.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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