Reprinted from an article in Issue 27 of the Brooklyn Daily
Strives to Ensure Everyone Can Afford Housing
Tonya Ores is a true blue Brooklynite, born the 15th of 16 children in the former St. Mary’s Hospital in Crown Heights.
“Being part of a large family taught me the value of teamwork, inclusion, tenacity, and perseverance,” she says, noting that those lessons served her well as she’s made a career — indeed, a life — of helping those in need.
“I lead a Brooklyn-based organization committed to providing residents with the tools and resources they need to maintain safe and affordable housing,” Ores says of her work as executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn. “Safe and affordable housing is key for neighborhood preservation.
“I was fortunate to grow up in house that my parents owned and I knew the value of home ownership,” she adds. “When I was introduced to Neighborhood Housing Services over 20 years ago, it was love at first sight. I was fortunate to find my calling early in life. I loved the idea of helping others secure affordable, safe, and secure housing.”
In her role as executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services, Ores spends her days working to encourage the preservation and growth of healthy, stable, and diverse neighborhoods in Brooklyn, as well as promoting economic empowerment by offering opportunities in home ownership, financial literacy, job training, and business development across the borough.
But Ores is not content just doing that; she also serves as a volunteer on several advisory boards, including Carver Community Development Corporation, Kings County Hospital, and the New York State Neighborhood Coalition. And as if that wasn’t enough, after Hurricane Sandy, she also became involved in disaster recovery work in Brooklyn with an emphasis on obtaining resources to restore storm-ravaged communities.
“Tonya is a great leader, and good listener,” said Albert Payne, the board director at Neighborhood Housing Services. “She is someone who cares extremely about the community in which she serves. The work she does she does it because she gets great satisfaction — not for pay but because of the satisfaction she gets from helping others.”
Ores, who lives in Bergen Beach with her husband Morris, son Morris Junior, and the family dog Rocky, calls her home borough, “the beacon of opportunity and diversity. I am proud to call Brooklyn home,” she says. “Brooklyn has the most talented, and passionate people. Its leadership is strong, its communities are strong, its economy is vibrant, and its vision is limitless.”
This Woman of Distinction gives a great deal of credit for her achievements to her parents, who “taught me early in life how to share and give back to those who need a helping hand,” and singled out her mother, Helen Peebles, for special praise.
“She encouraged me early in life and told me that I should reach for the stars,” she said. “She basically said that life is short, so live it well. She is my woman of distinction.”
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bergen Beach.
OCCUPATION: Executive director.
COMPANY: Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn CDC, Inc.
CLAIM TO FAME: Community organizer. Provide resources to stabilize communities.
FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: The Botanic Garden is one of my favorite places.
WOMAN I ADMIRE: There are many women I admire and inspired me to be more but the first woman that come to mind is my mother: Helen Peebles.
MOTTO: Leadership is action, not a position.