UIC Urban Planning and Policy Student Association, 2018
 

Lissette Flores

MUPP 2013

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Special Advisor, Office of Public and Indian Housing

 

Can you describe your work and how your planning degree contributes to it?

At HUD, I serve under the Obama Administration as the Special Advisor for education and workforce development in the Office of Public and Indian Housing. In this capacity, I work to advance programs and policies that connect families living in HUD-assisted housing (such as Public Housing or Housing Choice Voucher recipients) to educational access, jobs and training.

I find my planning degree, specifically my concentration in Community Development, to be extremely helpful in my work. My MUPP classes definitely prepared me for some of the work I do here at HUD. Assignments such as policy memos, briefs, maps, and other written assignments are part of my every day work, and I am grateful that the MUPP program prepared me for some of the tasks I now have regularly. Furthermore, studying housing policy gives me great background on many of the issues I encounter in relation to public housing, funding, programs, and more.

 

What do you like most about your current job or related work in planning?

 

I feel very honored and proud to serve the President. However, what I like most is that my work at the federal level has an immense impact on low-income families at the local level. For example, I review and administer grants to Public Housing Authorities who then provide much needed services to their residents, in the form of job training, skills development, financial planning, and a variety of others.

 

What advice do you wish you had gotten as a MUPP or, conversely, what advice would you give to young planners today?

 

I landed in DC thanks to an amazing fellowship opportunity with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. I encourage young planners to take advantage of any and all fellowship or internship opportunities that came your way.

I will also add that GIS skills are greatly sought out, and can make you a very competitive candidate when searching for planning jobs. I encourage you to become as proficient in GIS as possible.

Finally, do what you enjoy! Aside from my full time position, I work part time with the Esperanza Education Fund, where we provide scholarships to immigrant scholars. I also serve on the CHCI Alumni Board. My advice is to volunteer as much as you can. The connections you make will be a great asset to your network.