SAN RAFAEL, CA Defining the role of advocacy for affordable housing in Marin for almost three decades, Betty Pagett, the Director of Education and Advocacy at EAH Housing, is retiring after 16 years with the organization.
“Betty Pagett is an icon in our world of affordable housing,” said Mary Murtagh, President and CEO of EAH Housing. “She is tenacious in her passion and tireless in her commitment. She has done an extraordinary job of educating those who do not understand the intricacies and logistics of helping people live where they work, regardless of their income levels. We will miss her dearly.”
“It has been a thrill and an unbelievable ride, working with the people at EAH,” said Pagett. “I feel good about what we’ve been able to accomplish, but the job is far from over. There is much more we have to do to build livable, sustainable communities throughout the Bay Area.”
Betty Pagett has focused on building community throughout her professional life and will continue to work with EAH as a consultant on special projects. She will also continue some of her volunteer work including chairing the Marin Advisory Committee for Habitat for Humanity and serving on the Board for the Helen Vine Detox Center. She will continue to live in San Rafael’s West End. Her daughter Wendy is program coordinator for Bridge the Gap tutoring program, and with her husband David Tollen and son James, will be a central part of Betty’s retirement.
She joined the staff of EAH in April, 1991 after 10 years in Marin County as minister of First United Methodist Church, San Rafael. During that time she was an active advocate for homeless persons, serving on the Blue Ribbon Working Group on the Homeless, and initiating programs for single parents. She was a founder of Marin Interfaith Council and the chaplaincy program at Marin General Hospital.
While with EAH she served on the Board of Directors of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, co-chaired the Marin Housing Council, and worked as an active member of the Consortium for Work Force Housing. She represented EAH and Marin Housing Council in such groups as the California Futures Network, Urban Ecology and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Her role in the community has been as a link between those who need housing, employers, civic leaders, and those with housing expertise. She has been an active leader and technical assistance provider for the Community Acceptance Strategies Consortium, a Bay Area wide effort. Her work focused on local, state and public policy, and bringing people together to make affordable housing possible. She served on the Board of Directors of the new national effort, The Campaign for Affordable Housing.
In 1997, her advocacy efforts were recognized with the Beryl Buck Award given by the Marin Community Foundation, honoring her work building inclusive communities. She was also recognized by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California with its Unsung Hero Award in 2006. She received the Bunny Lucheta Award from the Marin League of Women Voters and the Ann Weston Award from the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to eighteen years in parish ministry as an education and pastor, Ms. Pagett developed educational materials and training events relating to national and international issues. She holds a B.A. Degree from University of the Pacific in International Relations and English, and two masters’ degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She has done a year of study at Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, India, and managed a student hostel for International Students in Paris, France. In 1989, Ms. Pagett presented a paper in Moscow on the dignity of women and children in the Judaic and Christian Traditions. Her publications include a simulation game and multi media presentations, as well as magazine articles.
EAH Housing was founded in 1968 and is one of the oldest and most respected non-profit housing organizations in the western United States. Serving 15,000 residents, EAH has developed over 5,200 units of affordable housing and plays a leadership role in housing advocacy efforts. EAH has offices in San Rafael, Fresno, San Jose and Honolulu. For more information visit www.eahhousing.org