It’s All In The Plan: David Gray’s Vision for APAH’s Resident Council

David Gray (left) at APAH’s summer luau in 2022.

David moved to the D.C. area in 1981 for the booming travel industry.  For over 35 years he was a vacation planning travel agent. He established a reputation as a force in the local travel scene for his work ethic, teaching at a travel school, and serving for 20 years as chair of the local chapter of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. David loved his work. He has countless stories about his time in the industry – from planning elaborate honeymoons in Europe to inbound travel to Washington, D.C. – his vision for his work was to operate at maximum efficiency and cover the widest range of destinations in the world.

After retiring, David realized that his Social Security Income was extremely limited. He went to Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) distributions every week for almost 4 years. David recalls the day he moved into his apartment at Buchanan Gardens in September 2012. He learned about an affordable housing provider named APAH through Arlington County and was one of the first residents to move in after renovations at the property were completed that summer.

Today, David is a member of APAH’s Resident Council. The council was conceptualized by APAH staff but intends to be “by residents, for residents, and about residents,” and is comprised of residents that represent APAH’s properties. David represents Buchanan Gardens, enjoys his role, and tries to be as active as possible.

The council’s inaugural meeting was in March 2022. After the meeting, David began putting plans together, as a travel agent does. He created a plan to conduct vision care fairs at seven APAH properties from August to October 2023, in partnership with the Lions Clubs of Northern Virginia, and hopes the fairs become an ongoing initiative of the council. David himself is a success story of eye care through the Lions Club, and is striving to ensure that vulnerable populations, including seniors or those who have never received eye care before, have access to basic level vision checks.

David is excited about the future of APAH’s Resident Council and the positive impact it will have on residents across the portfolio. He represented the council at the National Fair Housing Alliance’s 2023 National Conference this month, which addressed disparities in homeownership opportunities in the region.

While the council’s priorities are still being determined, David knows that neighbors will continue to support neighbors. As APAH expands regionally, the council will enlist representatives from new properties, providing new opportunities and ideas for service.