Promise Zone Team
Promise Zone Coordinator
Julius Austin is the Sacramento Promise Zone Coordinator at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. He previously was the Director of Community Development at the Center for Fathers and Families. Mr. Austin has over a decade of experience in the education field and the non-profit sector. He has specialized in cross sector collaboration and placed based initiatives. Julius is passionate about work that allows him to empower underserved communities in the areas of education, health & fitness, economics, politics, and sustainability.
He is responsible for directing the daily operations of Promise Zone activities and processes that address issues of neighborhood housing development, public safety, job creation, training and placement, economic development, small business development financing, and neighborhood revitalization issues. He will also work with Promise Zone AmeriCorps VISTAs, a coalition of community stakeholders and Zone sub committees to advance the goals of the Promise Zone with focus on researching, identifying and pursuing federal funding opportunities. Julius serves on the steering committee for the National Coalition of Promise Zones, the collaborative of the 22 Promise Zones from across the country.
Julius is a Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program Senior Fellow (Class VI) and is a Metro EDGE member. Additionally, he is a graduate of the City of Sacramento 2014 City Management Academy. Julius has won several awards for leadership and community service, including the 2016 Drexel University Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III Leadership Award, the Sacramento Kings 2016 Dream All-Star Award, and was selected for the 2015 Sacramento Business Journal 40 Under 40. During college, he was a two-time USCAA All-American basketball player. He led Rochester College to the 2004 USCAA National Championship as the captain and team MVP. Julius has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Sciences from Rochester College and a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University.
Julius holds several board positions, including Board Member for the Afripeace Foundation and serving as the Chair of the African American Advisory Board. He also traveled to South Africa to represent Sacramento District 5180 as a team member on the Rotary Club’s Group Study Exchange team.
Dr. Michael E. Huff serves as a program Analyst, Sacramento Promise Zone Liaison (Community Initiatives) with the HUD office of Field Policy & Management in the San Francisco Region Office. As a liaison, he is tasked with sharing best practices and with helping Promise Zone partners navigate federal funding opportunities. Additionally, he is a passionate equity advocate for the Opportunity Zone Initiative.
Previously, he served volunteer terms with both Los Angeles-area Promise
Zones (2016-2018) – as Senior Program Associate / VISTA Leader at the South Los Angeles Promise Zone (with LA Trade Tech College) and as Partnership Coordinator at the Los Angeles Promise Zone (with Mayor Garcetti's Office of Economic Opportunity). In 2016, Dr. Huff returned from serving with the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia (near Russia & Turkey). In 2014-2015, he served as an ESL Program Manager in the People's Republic of China - he has some great stories from his international service.
Dr. Huff is committed to disrupting the cycle of inter-generational poverty by employing collective impact, place-based and social innovation strategies. He has conducted entrepreneurship and employability skills workshops in the United States, Australia, Eastern Europe, China and Canada. Michael has earned a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership. His certifications include: AACSB Business Instructor and Infrastructure Liaison Officer. Michael has also served as a social worker, business continuity planner and a privacy officer. For fun, Dr. Huff enjoys karaoke, hiking, sudoku puzzles and stargazing. And, if your jump shot needs some work, he is a basketball shooting coach as well.
Promise Zone HUD Federal Liaison
Dr. Michael Huff
Five AmeriCorps VISTAs are one of the benefits of a Promise Zone Designation. Each year, VISTA members are placed at a community organization or public agency to create and expand programs that build capacity to overcome critical problems that burden low-income communities. During their year of service, VISTA members direct their efforts to build organizational, administrative, and financial capacity to further assist communities out of poverty.
2020 AmeriCorps VISTAs (from left to right): Pedro, Kimberly, Angelina, Valerie, Jack
Former Director of the Promise Zone
Tyrone Roderick Williams
Tyrone Roderick Williams served as Deputy Executive Director at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and urban revitalization trailblazer. His development activities have been at the forefront of neighborhood transformation efforts in Boston, Houston, Atlanta and Sacramento. His experience includes leading activities in
the for-profit, nonprofit, philanthropic and government sectors. He is an industry leader in affordable housing finance, organizational management, real estate and community development, cross-sector collaborations, project implementation and organizational management. He has spent the past 25 years successfully leading multi-million dollar, large-scale, comprehensive revitalization initiatives totaling over $1.5 billion.
With an agency budget of $210 million, he provides visionary leadership and directs the affordable housing, community development and project financing activities for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA.org), Sacramento Housing Authority, Sacramento County Housing authority, the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County.
Prior to his appointed he held executive positions at companies that include the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Integral Development Company, Market Developers, Community Builders of Texas, and he led initiatives of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Invest Atlanta.
He is responsible for funding services and directing federal entitlement programs including HOME, CDBG, ESG, HOPWA, and NSP. He also directs development finance and new initiatives including programs addressing homelessness and Choice Neighborhood public housing redevelopment activities in both the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County.
He also directs fair housing activities and housing policy development and implementation. His department provides financing for the development and preservation of long-term multi-family affordable housing. In 2019 his office provided over $250 million in multi-family affordable housing financing, including bonds and loans. He also directs first-time homebuyer programs, compliance monitoring of over 1,200 single-family loans and portfolio management of 1,300 loans totaling $321 million.
In addition to his development activities, he is directing the activities of the Sacramento Promise Zone. He coordinates partnerships with over 150 nonprofit, governmental and local organizations to expand services to underserved neighborhoods. He is successfully leading efforts to attract and leverage additional state and federal dollars to enhance the lives of Sacramento residents. The Promise Zone currently has partnerships with 9 federal agencies. Over the past 5 years, the Promise Zone collaboration partners have been awarded over $175 million in state and federal funds.
Mr. Williams is a national cross-sector leader. In 2017 he was selected as a Presidio Institute Fellow. The goal of the prestigious leadership program is to acknowledge and expand the capacity of the nation’s prominent inspired executives to solve complex societal challenges that impact housing, education, health, workforce development, and the environment.
In 2018 he was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission’s Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group. The group advises both commissions on how programs can effectively reach and benefit communities burdened by pollution and socio-economic challenges.
Mr. Williams believes that opening doors for academic advancement for students is paramount to creating thriving communities and economic success. He is a professional speaker, national conference presenter, and media contributor. He is the author of the book Igniting the Power to Succeed - Practical Performance Principles for Achieving Phenomenal Results.
Mr. Williams received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Prairie View A&M University, a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PHD from the School of Hard Knocks.