About

History

In October 2016, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners and City of Tallahassee Commission established a joint affordable housing workgroup to provide recommendations upon how to enhance the collaboration and coordination of organizations in the community regarding affordable housing. The Workgroup was comprised of representatives from local government and non-profit organizations including Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, Tallahassee Lenders Consortium, Big Bend Homeless Coalition, Tallahassee Urban League, Tallahassee Housing Authority, and United Partners in Human Services (UPHS).

A year later the Workgroup presented its recommendations to the County Commission and City Commission. One of those recommendations was for the creation of the Housing Leadership Council to serve as a public/private partnership to foster and sustain coordination and collaboration among housing stakeholders (i.e. government, non-profit, developers, financial institutions, etc.) to increase the stock of affordable housing in Tallahassee-Leon County.

In October 2018, the Housing Leadership Council of Tallahassee-Leon County was officially established under the guidance of Leon County, the City of Tallahassee, and UPHS. Since that time, the Housing Leadership Council continues to grow and attract organizations in the public and private sector in a collective effort to spur economic growth and enhance quality of life through the local housing market for all citizens of Tallahassee-Leon County.

Our Mission:

We see a future where everyone has a place to call home.

Mission & Values

  • VISION

    We see a future where everyone has a place to call home, where low-income communities, and people of color, can stay and prosper within our region. We envision a day where everyone has access to an affordable home: improving our health, our children’s educational outcomes, our environment, our transit system, our regional competitiveness, and keeping Tallahassee-Leon County diverse and equitable.

 

  • MISSION

    To activate our membership in order to make our community a place where everyone has an affordable and stable home.

 

  • VALUES

    • Lead with a Collaborative Spirit
    • Celebrate Strength & Diversity
    • Connect with Authenticity
    • Inspire Innovation
    • Build Community
    • Recognize the Innate Human Need for Safe and Stable Housing

 

  • PRIORITIES/GOALS

    The HLC will serve as a network of housing stakeholders that collaborate and coordinate to promote housing affordability, programs, and services to increase the inventory of workforce housing in Tallahassee-Leon County.

    • EDUCATE Build community awareness of the need for affordable, low-cost housing, including resources and potential solutions.
    • CREATE Increase the housing supply to meet the needs of all current and future residents.
    • DIVERSIFY Encourage diversity of housing types and energy-efficient housing.
    • PRESERVE Sustain existing affordable housing stock, including financially assisted & rent-restricted units.
    • INTEGRATE Promote social and economic integration.

 

  • SERVICES

    • MEMBERSHIP (Building a Base of Housing Advocates Across All Sectors)
    • HOUSING CLEARINGHOUSE (Resource Navigation and Housing Data)
    • COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS (Policy/Housing Development/Education)

Board of Directors

Chair Lisa Brown

CEO, Tallahassee-Leon Federal Credit Union

Bio coming soon!

Co-Chair Antoine Wright

Executive Director, Big Bend Habitat for Humanity

Bio coming soon!

Jean Amison

City of Tallahassee, Housing & Grants Administrator

Bio coming soon!

Walissa Cobb

Owner/Broker, Cobb Realty and Investment Company

Wallisa is the Broker/Owner of Cobb Realty & Investment Company and has over 15 years of experience in managing community development projects and programs, including: housing, economic development, infrastructure, and disaster mitigation. Miss Cobb has extensive experience with local, state, and federally funded community and economic development programs. She also has expertise in program administration, project management and grant writing.

Wallisa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. In 2013, she became a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Wallisa holds real estate designations as a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Accredited Buyer Representative Manager (ABRM), Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR), Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and Military Relocation Professional (MRP). Wallisa is a member of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors, Florida Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, African American Real Estate Agents (AREA), and Leadership Tallahassee Class 29.

Always devoted to her community, Wallisa is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., serves on the United Way Income Council, Chair of the Leon County Board of County Commissioners’ Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, is a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer, and Flagler College Community Advisory Council member.

Wallisa Cobb is newly appointed to the HLC and serves as Director of Membership. Committed to improving the state of housing in the Tallahassee community, she seeks to support the Council in its efforts to be a catalyst for bridging the gap between the public and private sector whose mission is to create affordable housing opportunities. For coffee and a conversation about how you can get involved, please contact Wallisa at wallisa@cobbrealtyhomes.com.

When asked about her work with the HLC, Wallisa commented:

“As a realtor who is passionate about affordable housing in our community, I joined the HLC ensure that I do my part in ensuring that affordable housing opportunities exist for all.”

Ryan R. Culton, P.E.

Senior Project Manager, DRMP, Inc.

Ryan R. Culton, P.E. Mr. Ryan Culton is a Senior Project Manager and a licensed professional engineer at DRMP, Inc.. Mr. Culton designs and manages infrastructure projects for public and private clients including site design, subdivision planning, environmental permitting.

Mr. Culton has designed and constructed over $500M in public and private infrastructure in his 17 years of experience in the field of consulting engineering. Mr. Culton has worked in both the public sector for the Illinois Department of Transportation, and for various private consulting engineering firms in Illinois and Florida.

Mr. Culton is originally from Illinois where he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received both his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Master’s in Business Administration.

Mr. Culton is an avid golfer, angler, and beach goer with his family in his free time.

Talethia Edwards

President, Greater Bond Neighborhood Association

Talethia O. Edwards is a wife and mother of seven turned community leader and advocate. Talethia has a long track record of serving in the Tallahassee community and the state of Florida. She is currently the President and Founder of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association, where she created programs like Breakfast in the Park to feed the homeless a hot breakfast, she had parented with other organizations to host a underwear drive “ Drop the Drawers” where over 1000 pair of underwear were donated and disturbed to needy families. Edwards developed a literacy fund that raises funds and partnership with financial institutions to incentivized community youth for meeting their reading goals and teach financial literacy skills and youth entrepreneurial ship skills; she has also organized Community Walks and Family Health days. Talethia works closely with local city and county government to help bring positive change to her community. She was named City of Tallahassee 2016 Neighbor of the Year. Talethia believes in strong families and strong communities and exemplifies this through her service through board leadership for several organizations she holds dear to her heart. She is also Parent Partner for the ECCS state of Florida Team who are federal grantees working to decrease developmental delays in children birth to three there Talethia uses her voice to advocate and empower families to become active partners in their communities and children life.

Talethia continues her commitment and advocacy through volunteerism and service through board work with agencies like Kids, Inc. of the Big Bend, Early Head Start, CACA Head Start, The PHI Center, Tallahassee Lenders Consortium, and committees like the Early Childhood Obesity Prevention (ECOP) task force, the Leon County school district advisory committee, and Title I advisory committee; and working closely with her community by serving as her neighborhood association president. She also serves on her children’s school advisory committee, PTO vice president, and as parent partner for the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems state of Florida team. As her commitment and service list goes on, she is firmly committed to forwarding the work of parental engagement, advocacy, and empowerment because she believes in strong families and strong communities.

Karen Miller

Assistant Executive Director, Tallahassee Lenders Consortium

Karen is a native Floridian originally from Orlando. She moved to the Tallahassee area in 2008. She has had a span of a 30 year career working with at risk youth and their families. For nineteen of those thirty years, she was the Director of the Osceola Children’s Home where she worked specifically with victims of abuse and neglect. During her tenure as director, she supervised a twenty-four hour operation with forty-two staff, forty-two teenagers and a two million dollar budget.

Karen is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.

Working with TLC is a second career for Karen. As the Homeownership Center Manager, and now Assistant Executive Director she is responsible for office management, grants management and reporting, staff supervision, contract management, and quality control. She recently became involved with neighborhood revitalization and leadership through community building and engagement.

Her life outside of the daily operations of TLC involves active membership and participation in her church and her sorority where she continues service to the community. She also serves on several Boards of Directors.

When asked about her passion for The Housing Leadership Council, here is what Karen had to say…

As a child I loved the story of the Wizard of Oz. It was so magical; I remembered those ruby red slippers and how Dorothy would click her heels together only to say the words, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” I have worked at the Tallahassee Lenders’ Consortium for 6 1/2 years. As we serve this community I see so many Dorothies, men and women, entering our office with the dream of being able to purchase their home. I imagine there are days they are clicking their ruby red slippers together and their words are, “I want my own home, I want my own home.” The Housing Leadership Council is a way for these dreams to come true.

Amber Tynan

Executive Director, United Partners for Human Services

Bio coming soon!

Ruth Vafek

Attorney & Shareholder, Ausley McMullen

Bio coming soon!

Charles (Chuck) White

Owner, Developmental Consultants, & Employment Specialist, CESC, Inc.

Charles (Chuck) White has been primarily a business owner in the construction and development field for 40+ years. He originally specialized in water and sewer utility construction for municipal governments throughout the states of Florida and Georgia. His firm worked with the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority installing high pressure water transmission lines from the Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon south to Key West including 14 bridge crossings.

His firm also worked for the USN installing fueling lines at Key West Naval Station and Kings Bay, Georgia. He oversaw the installation of fiber optic transmission lines running from Mobile, Alabama to Jacksonville and from Jacksonville to Atlanta for MCI and AT&T respectively.

For the past 20 plus years he has specialized in residential subdivision development in St. Lucie, Orlando and particularly in Tallahassee. As well, he has worked in the real estate field of industrial development in the Atlanta area.

For the past 25 years, he has worked as a volunteer in the field of homelessness, first preparing meals then working more directly with those folks experiencing homelessness through the Good News organization in Tallahassee.

He was a board member of Good News Outreach from 1997 to 2011, serving as Chairman and President of the BOD for approximately 8 years. During this tenure, he established the Mercy House program oriented to male ex offenders, Mission Oak SRO Apartments for formerly homeless men, and built Maryland Oaks Crossing, a fifty unit mobile home residential campus oriented to formerly homeless families with children.

In 2011 he teamed with Rick Kearney to establish the Renaissance Community Center adjacent to the Tallahassee Leon Shelter, Tallahassee’s largest homeless facility. The RCC provided daytime services to homeless individuals and families and served as the primary intake facility for the Tallahassee region. The RCC brought together, under one roof, most all of the agencies and organizations in Tallahassee that provide services to folks experiencing homelessness. This undertaking proved highly successful in rapidly and efficiently delivering appropriate services to those in need.

In 2012, he spearheaded the development of Westgate Community Residential Campus, a private gated subdivision that is designed to provide low cost housing for vulnerable, formerly homeless individuals and families in a rooming house format. The building designs provided for 10 large rooms/bathrooms in each with a common kitchen and living area. The total structures are approved for up to 40 individuals. This type of development was new to Tallahassee and required a special PUD designation.

Beginning in August, 2013, he worked as a member of a small, select group of community representatives to design and build a state-of-the-art homeless facility that allowed for the co-location of approximately 45 agencies and organizations, including residential services for adult men and women, all under one roof. He spearheaded the research and design of the facility and oversaw construction and development for this group until the Kearney Center opened in April, 2015. He worked with funding partners to formalize relationships that provided the necessary capital to complete the facility. He continues to seek funding partners for operations at the Kearney Center.

He has served as a board member of Good News Outreach and Bond Community Health Center and as a member of several health care related panels addressing the medical needs of low income individuals and families. He currently serves on the board of the Big Bend Continuum of Care addressing the needs of our region’s homeless.

He is currently spearheading the design of new SRO (Single Residential Occupancy) buildings for the Westgate Community Residential Campus that will offer 20 bedroom efficiency type apartments each for very low income individuals. He continues as managing general partner in a few for-profit real estate oriented partnerships.

Kyndra L. Light

Executive Director, The Housing Leadership Council of Tallahassee-Leon County

Kyndra Light was selected as the Executive Director of the Housing Leadership Council of Tallahassee-Leon County and began her role there in October of 2019.

Kyndra brings over 12 years of experience as an executive in the private sector where she runs a local building and renovation company in addition to over 6 years of experience in nonprofit and education administration. She has keen knowledge in executive strategy, housing processes, and community engagement.

Kyndra holds a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and Women’s Studies and a master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy from Florida State University. Her unique background in education, social services, and housing make her an exceptional fit to lead this organization.

When speaking with her about the HLC, she replies…

“There are very little challenges that our community faces that do not hold their root in a lack of dignified, affordable housing. Safety, education, health, productivity, and retention all experience success with the support of a functional, affordable home. It is imperative that we as individuals, business owners, and a community center our attention on this in order to thrive.”

Founding Members






  • Buy a Home

    Resources for financial education, down payment assistance, and more.

    Learn more

  • Rent a Home

    Resources for vouchers, subsidies, and rental locations.

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  • Save Your Home

    Resources for monthly payment assistance, help with repairs, and other community services.

    Learn more