Abode Communities continues to raise the bar for affordable housing development with a clear vision for creative design, strategic partnerships and amenities tailored to meet the needs of its residents.

“I think that innovation and creativity have always been in the forefront of this organization,” says Abode President and CEO Robin Hughes, who has guided the firm for the last 15 years of the non-profit's 40-year history.

“But I also think we work hard at engaging our residents, engaging the community and engaging other community stakeholders in the work that we do from the very beginning of our design to getting feedback from our residents in terms of how our buildings are functioning,” emphasizes Hughes.

That innovation is evident in award-winning projects such as Casa Dominguez. Completed in 2009, the project features 70 units of affordable housing along with a family development center that includes a child care and parent resource center for residents and community members.

In addition, Casa Dominguez is the first permanent affordable housing development with supportive services for young adults leaving the foster-care system in Los Angeles County. Fourteen units are designated for youth who are in transition.

The Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing recognized Casa Dominguez as the Multifamily Housing Development of the Year in 2010 for its outstanding impact on the East Rancho Dominguez community.

It was also the sixth multifamily housing project in the state of California to receive the platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes.

The project was built on a vacant brownfield site. It includes sustainable features such as a gray water irrigation system and solar panels that generate 100% of the power for common areas.

Abode Communities focuses on designing projects that create a real sense of place for the residents and the broader community, notes Bill Roschen, president of the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission and a principal at Roschen Van Cleve Architects.

“Robin's awareness of how to link a project successfully into the community is almost a blueprint on how to do it, and how to do it well,” says Roschen. “The other thing that her projects do very well is create a place and a social opportunity for all of the residents.”