MHP welcomes Kelly Zelenka as new Community Development Director

MHP is excited to announce Kelly Zelenka as its new Director of Community Development. Working with MHP’s team of nationally recognized experts, Zelenka will shape, manage and lead MHP’s work in rural and Native communities in Minnesota and across the United States.

After building an impressive career in Seattle, Zelenka is returning to her deep roots in rural Minnesota, where she was born and raised. Having worked in both urban and rural communities, Zelenka brings more than 25 years of experience in the housing and services sector, with a demonstrated track record of increasing the amount and availability of housing and service resources by:

  • conducting and managing technical assistance, training and capacity building initiatives with organizations and communities,
  • and leading systems-change efforts and grantmaking initiatives that test emerging best practices

Most recently, Zelenka managed the operations, budget and 65 staff in the Seattle Housing Authority‘s Housing Choice Voucher program, which serves more than 10,000 households annually. Before that she directed several programs at Building Changes — a previously HUD-funded technical assistance provider working to bring together government, philanthropic and nonprofits to address family and youth homelessness in Washington state.

“The majority of my career I’ve worked in low-income and special needs housing,” Zelenka said. “I would frequently hear how innovative Minnesota was in housing, homelessness, healthcare and quality of living. Being a Minnesota native, this always made me proud, and now adds to my excitement to be returning. I feel especially honored to join such a talented team at MHP working on issues of home and community which are critical for all of us, not just in Minnesota but throughout the country.”

“Joining MHP as it deploys a $2 million HUD grant to its Strengthening Rural Communities program, Zelenka’s dedication to housing and community development, her strategic leadership, and her strong program, budget and personnel management skills will be an invaluable asset,” said Anne Mavity, MHP Executive Director. “The common denominator throughout her career is her commitment to supporting individuals, organizations and communities to capitalize on their strengths and reach their goals. Her skill set will ensure that communities working with MHP will continue to receive high quality technical assistance that produces outcomes that are improving the lives of people in rural and Native communities nationwide.” 

Learn more about MHP’s capacity building work here.