July 22, 2024 Donate

Chelsea, Chelsea Business, Chelsea Government

Aaron Cooper Named New Executive Director of Avalon Housing

Aaron Cooper, new Avalon Housing Executive Director. Courtesy of Avalon Housing.

Avalon Housing, Washtenaw County’s leading provider of affordable, supportive housing, today announced that Aaron Cooper, a seasoned and respected leader with 17 years of experience in the affordable housing sector, has been named its new executive director. He succeeds Aubrey Patiño, who has led the organization through a period of unprecedented growth since her appointment in 2018.

Cooper will begin his new role on Feb. 26.

“As Avalon nears our 35th year of working to end homelessness, we are excited about our future,” said Jeremy Lapedis, Avalon board president. “Avalon has a vibrant, values-driven culture and extremely talented staff. We have four new properties and over 150 units on our development horizon. Aaron’s passion for improving people’s lives through quality, affordable housing, his extensive background in the public housing sector, and his ability to engage staff, community members and key partners make him the ideal person to lead Avalon at this time.”

Cooper has spent the last 17 years of his career serving others in the affordable housing sector at various public housing authorities across Ohio and Michigan. Since early 2021, Cooper has been the President and CEO of the Inkster Housing Commission (IHC), which serves over 3,000 residents living in 741 apartments and homes and 750 Section 8 Voucher participants. While at the IHC, Cooper has worked closely with elected officials, residents of Inkster, and other stakeholders to provide safe, quality housing for all low-income residents.

Cooper is also the Vice President of Region IV for the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, where he leads an esteemed group of colleagues who advocate for affordable housing in his region.

“I’m energized to build on the tremendous growth that Avalon has experienced in the past by leading the organization through this next critical stage of its mission,” Cooper said. “The growth Avalon has experienced has been due not only to the leadership of Aubrey and the board but also Avalon’s skilled and compassionate team members who are on the front lines in the fight against homelessness. I’m honored to step into this position, and I look forward to working with the team to ensure a smooth transition and a seamless experience for our tenants, clients and partners.”

Patiño has been with the organization for 18 years, serving as the executive director for the past five years.

“Being a part of this organization has been one of the most tender and expansive experiences of my life,” Patiño said. “I’ve watched Avalon restore people’s health, their sense of belonging, and give them purpose. Avalon is a special place, and I want to share my sincere thanks with our tenants, our staff, our partners and everyone in the greater Washtenaw community who has helped support us in the pursuit of housing justice. Although I am sad to leave, I am confident that Aaron will be a tremendous asset to this community and lead with kindness, respect and integrity.”

Avalon currently owns and manages 29 sites across Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Dexter, and plans to add 152 new affordable apartments in Washtenaw County over the next few years. Washtenaw County saw a 31 percent decrease in chronic homelessness when Avalon opened Hickory Way Apartments in 2021.