November 21, 2022
It has been an exciting two months for Community Housing Partners (CHP) and its CEO Janaka Casper. Casper was named to the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (Fahe) Hall of Fame in September and received the 2022 Citizen of the Valley Award from the New River Valley Regional Commission (NRVRC) in October. It’s a great way to go out in style for Casper, who after more than four decades with the organization, will be retiring in early 2023.
Casper was honored by Jim King, President, and CEO of Fahe, with the Fahe Hall of Fame recognition during the September 20-22 Annual Meeting. “Janaka has been a source of inspiration, wisdom, and humble service to Fahe,” said King, then added, “We have all benefited from his leadership and vision calling us to set ambitious goals, and then double them!”
Vonda Poynter, Vice President of Membership at Fahe, said, “For me, coming into Fahe 16 years ago, it has been a tremendous inspiration to learn from Janaka – he just knows so much! He is an excellent teacher.”
The Fahe Hall of Fame honors members or partners who are retiring after many years of outstanding service to their community or the Fahe Network. The nominee must have retired in the past year or planning to retire before next year’s annual meeting and must have outstanding career performance in the areas of housing programs, services, development, or finance.
The New River Valley Regional Commission also honored Casper with the Citizen of the Valley Award at an Oct. 27 event. According to the award press release, “The award is given to a citizen within the New River Valley who has made significant contributions to the betterment of the region. Under Mr. Casper’s leadership, CHP has grown to over 350 employees that have delivered weatherization services to more than 50,000 homes in Virginia and provides safe and affordable housing to over 5,800 households across 90 rental properties in multiple states, 14 of which are in the New River Valley.”
Kevin Byrd, Executive Director of the NRVRC, presented the award to Casper. “His vision helped establish an organization that delivers impact not only across the Commonwealth of Virginia, but well beyond into several states providing housing services to families in need,” Byrd stated. “His impact has been felt not only by those receiving services through CHP, but also by those who were fortunate enough to work alongside him tackling many community challenges in his natural style, with an open mind and heart.”
During his career, Casper has been the standard bearer for CHP’s mission and vision, as well as a leader and mentor within the industry. Beginning in 1976, Casper helped transform CHP from an all-volunteer group providing home repairs in Virginia’s New River Valley to a leading affordable housing nonprofit serving the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Over the years, Casper has been recognized for many achievements. Casper was the recipient of the National NeighborWorks Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, selected by the Virginia Housing Coalition as an Architect of Change, and one of Virginia Housing Coalition’s top housing leaders in Virginia. Casper also received the 2016 Viridiant (EarthCraft Virginia) Visionary Award.