Laura Archuleta has been at the helm of Jamboree Housing Corp. for two decades, growing the nonprofit into one of the nation’s largest developers and owners of affordable housing.
When she joined the organization as assistant director in 1999, it had just three employees and a handful of small neighborhood housing properties. Archuleta moved into the top post two years later, and, under her steady hand as president and CEO, Jamboree has expanded to have 110 employees, nearly 10,000 affordable housing units, and a growing pipeline of projects.
Headquartered in Southern California, the nonprofit recently received funding under the state’s new Homekey program to acquire and convert three motels into housing for people who have been homeless. It’s an effort to get the state’s most vulnerable residents into housing quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually create more permanent supportive housing. Jamboree has been expanding statewide, and one of the projects is its first in Northern California’s Santa Clara County.
The move builds on the firm’s growing work in providing supportive housing for people who are living with mental illness and coming from homelessness. In addition, Jamboree has been active in developing affordable housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods and near high-performing schools through local inclusionary housing programs.
Archuleta, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration, thought she would work in local government and be a city manager. While working at a redevelopment agency, she became involved in affordable housing. She also had a personal connection—Archuleta’s mother grew up in public housing outside of Boston.
“I realized the importance of having high-quality stable housing that’s affordable to families and seniors,” she says. “It’s the backbone of the whole community. I veered off the city management path and stuck with the affordable housing piece.”
Joining Jamboree was an opportunity to continue her housing work, and it also was a good move at a time when she was starting a family. Archuleta and her husband have three children—two are now in college and one is in high school.
She’s also a leader in the larger industry, serving on the boards of the California Housing Consortium and the California Building Industry Association (BIA). Archuleta has earned multiple awards during her career, including the 2017 Lynn Jacobs Memorial Affordable Housing Award from the BIA’s Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter and the 2016 Spire Award for superior performance from CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Orange County.