Janet Falk, vice president of real estate development at Mercy Housing California, will close a distinguished 36-year career in affordable housing when she retires in June.

At Mercy, she has presided over the creation of nearly 3,500 units of affordable housing. More than that, Falk has been a mentor to project managers across the state.

She was recognized with the Catherine A. Bauer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) this week.

When Falk approved a deal, it never went upside down, said John Stewart, chairman of the John Stewart Co., a San Francisco-based housing development and management firm.

 “Janet is a deadly combination of deft-wordsmithing, on-point number crunching, reality-based political acumen, and earth mothering, which allows her to tell you that your nonsense deal won’t fly and have you enjoy the experience,” said Stewart when presenting the award.

Falk started as a city planner in Concord and Walnut Creek, Calif. She then spent 19 years as co-director at Community Economics, providing technical assistance on policy and development strategies to public and community groups.

She also served as executive director of the California Housing Partnership Corp. (CHPC).

At Community Economics and CHPC, she trained and mentored countless project managers across California.

“Janet is seen as the quiet force that has kept many affordable housing project managers on the right path.” said NPH Executive Director Dianne Spaulding.

She has also served on the boards of several housing organizations.