On March 1, in Los Angeles, California, the White House honored Hee Joo Yoon, Program Director at NAKASEC’s Los Angeles affiliate, the Korean Resource Center (KRC), as a Champion of Change for her dedication and tireless commitment to serving her community. Hee Joo is being recognized as one of eleven housing counselors and HUD-approved organizations who represent the hard work and achievements of thousands of housing counselors across the country.
Champions of Change is a program started by President Obama as part of his Winning the Future Initiative. Each week, a group of Champions ranging from educators to community leaders are selected from a different sector and recognized for their perseverance to serving and strengthening their communities.
Over forty years ago there was an incredible disinvestment in housing, exorbitant interest rates and irresponsible lending practices which led to the development of housing counseling assistance. Today, HUD approves, monitors and supports housing counseling organizations like KRC and tracks their output to ensure that the needs of homeowners are being met.
Hee Joo joined KRC as program director in 2005 after serving as a volunteer for nearly twelve years. She has experience in strategic planning, fundraising, community outreach and has project expertise in financial empowerment for low-income immigrant communities. In 2008, Hee Joo launched KRC’s foreclosure prevention counseling program as part of their larger financial empowerment program. Initially started as a short-term program to assist the initial wave of immigrant homeowners who needed immediate services, KRC realized that there was an incredible need for bilingual services and ensuring that information was provided accessible languages. And with the surge of fraudulent housing counselors and agencies in the aftermath of the housing crisis, the importance of providing culturally sensitive and language-appropriate services is even more crucial to ensuring open lines of communication between homeworkers and bank representatives and counselors and helping prevent immigrant homeowners from being deceived. Through her efforts, KRC became a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in 2010.
- View Hee Joo Yoon’s Champions of Change profile
- Read her blog post “Actualizing the American Dream for All of Us” (For Korean, click here)
- Visit the Korean Resource Center’s website
Photo courtesy of the Korean Resource Center