‘Housing Heroes’ to be honored at 50th anniversary celebration


The Housing Council is set to honor three local “Housing Heroes” during “Community Starts at Home,” a virtual 50th anniversary celebration from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 6.  

This year’s honorees are individuals who made an impact in the Monroe County area housing community. 

The Build the Dream Award recognizes Rosalie Remaris, vice chair of Latinas Unidas and board commissioner for the Rochester Housing Authority, as a community member who created pathways to homeownership for renters. As a Community Reinvestment Act loan officer with Citizens Bank, Remaris advocates and uses her voice to contribute to practices and policies that allow more people to buy their first home in the Greater Rochester area. 

Rosalie Remaris.

The Heart of the Home Award recognizes Kevin Purcell, senior attorney at Empire Justice Center, as a community member who advocates for the prevention of foreclosure. Purcell leads Empire Justice’s Foreclosure Prevention Unit and works with local homeowners in an effort to prevent mortgage and tax foreclosures. He also works with low-income homeowners who are targeted by predatory lenders. 

Kevin Purcell.

The Joel Kunkler Housing & Community Award recognizes Mark Muoio, program director of the Housing and Consumer Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, as a community member who demonstrates a passion for supporting those most in need and values the dignity of the most vulnerable in the community. Muoio’s advocacy for low-income renters has been crucial in helping renters navigate the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mark Muoio.

“Community Starts at Home” is a free event and requires registration. The Housing Council is accepting and encouraging pay-what-you-can donations in support of its mission, services and programs. VIP access includes a happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. at Three Heads Brewing.  

Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, will present the keynote address. As an advocate with more than 20 years of experience, Yentel offers knowledge, policy expertise and insight on the impact and importance of affordable and quality housing and community wellness.  

Local event speakers also will provide remarks on the state of housing in Rochester and the impact of having The Housing Council in the community. Attendees will hear from Monroe County Executive Adam Bello; Alex Castro, president and CEO of PathStone; Malik Evans, City Council member at-large; Mary Leo, executive director of The Housing Council at PathStone; and Orlando Ortiz, board chair for The Housing Council.  

Leading up to the celebration, The Housing Council is hosting digital community panel events with local professionals who will address housing-related topics that affect communities. All panels are from 9 to 10 a.m. Up next is “The Rent’s Too High: Finding Solutions” on Sept. 30 and “It’s a Challenging Time to be a Landlord” on Oct. 5.  

Visit thehousingcouncil.org/50years for information.