An Honorable Farewell to Kevin Krejci

Kevin Coffee

Today marks Kevin Krejci’s last day as a full-time employee at Project Homecoming. In recognition of all Kevin has done for New Orleans and Project Homecoming, I want to bid Kevin an honorable farewell by summarizing the impact he has had on this city:

After operating a faith-based rebuilding agency called Presbyterian Community Outreach in St. Tammany Parish for three years, Kevin made his way to Project Homecoming as Operations Director in 2009.

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Life at Project Homecoming was quite different in 2009. For those who may not know, the future of Project Homecoming was in question as our primary funding source was shrinking. Along with former employees Vann Joines and Ruth Meyers, Kevin successfully secured $1.6 million in NSP2 funding from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority that funded the development of 22 homes in Gentilly for sale to first-time homebuyers. This began Project Homecoming’s venture into both building new construction homes and selling homes to low-income families in targeted communities to reduce blight and foster further redevelopment.

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These new arenas allowed Project Homecoming’s capacity to grow tremendously. In 2009, we had a team of 20. Today, we have a team of over 40. The majority of our growth is our Work Force Development Program we call ‘The Crew’. Currently, we have 11 legacy residents on staff working to first acquire the fundamentals of construction and then expand their knowledge of construction craftsmanship. Kevin was instrumental in developing this program in an effort to broaden Project Homecoming’s impact through housing development across New Orleans.

Around the New Orleans housing scene, Kevin is known for his acute analytical ability and deep understanding of the complex housing programs that have sprung up in post-Katrina New Orleans. Since 2009, Kevin has secured over $6.3 million dollars in grant funding for Project Homecoming, creating over 120 units of affordable housing.

Kevin has also been heavily involved in the formation of the New Orleans Non-profit Round Table that includes a coalition of non-profits who have worked together over the past two years as a voice for Road Home recipients who are not in compliance with the State. Formally organized this year as the Road Home Liaison Group under the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, case managers located at non-profits throughout the city have been processing hundreds of cases for families who have still yet to return from Katrina or who need to submit the necessary paperwork to Road Home in order to have their ‘recapture’ status removed.

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Kevin has not only been instrumental in the programs above but also in the development of the staff at Project Homecoming. I would describe his management style as guiding yet hands-free, allowing our staff to have discretion and creativity and thus ownership of the roles. Kevin’s belief in the potential of our staff has allowed that potential to be realized. Kevin doesn’t sweat the small stuff and instead, rests his eyes on the horizon to generate the greatest impact. Personally, Kevin has changed my way of thinking to see the big picture along with the aid of his countless Excel tricks that I’ve adopted. One of his most prized inventions has been the Krejcinator. The Krejcinator (Kevin refuses to call it that) is a 10-tab excel document that is a construction estimating program that Kevin built back in 2006 specifically for Presbyterian Community Outreach in Slidell. We adopted it since and it has been the basis for all of our projection estimation and development budgets to date. As Project Homecoming isn’t your ordinary housing agency, having an estimating software that is malleable has enhanced our operations as we have grown throughout the years.

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Kevin also met his wife, Kate, through the Project Homecoming family. Kevin and Kate met while Kate served as a Village Manager in New Orleans for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in the summer of 2009. Kate’s ties to the Presbyterian Church led her from Pennsylvania to New Orleans and eventually to the arm of Kevin Krejci in 2012. Today is their 3-year anniversary. They are one of the coolest couples I know; committed to being true to each other, patient yet honest and always taking Mardi Gras extremely serious. With both costume design and compassion, Kate and Kevin’s relationship is a model to those who know them well.

Kevin will remain part-time at Project Homecoming through the end of 2015 while we work to get our Preservation Rental Program off the ground which will provide 13 units of deeply affordable housing in historically accurate homes that are currently blighted but located in targeted neighborhoods where the need for affordable housing is critical.

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Kevin, it’s been quite the journey brother. It is certain you will go far. Your contribution to Project Homecoming and post-Katrina New Orleans is beyond what I’ve attempted to capture here. Your legacy will live on at Project Homecoming as you have empowered us to not be afraid of new challenges and to embrace our potential within.

Bread and Butter,

Duncan