Host Agency: Mercy Housing California (Sacramento)
University: University of California, Davis
Manuel Eduardo Salazar is a first-generation Mexican American college student attending the University of California, Davis pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Development. Manuel was born in Monterey Park, California but states that much of his childhood upbringing and love for community development arose when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he remains to this day.
Much of Manuel’s early childhood experiences were plagued with issues concerning the financial and political conflict. Because his family was consistently living at or below the poverty line, housing insecurity and cramped living spaces were common components of his life. Manuel’s parents were also previously undocumented, which resulted in their skepticism and reluctance to receive state-sponsored aid (such as section 8 housing) due to the fear of deportation.
Manuel would utilize his past adversities as justification for why he needed to contribute to uplifting his community. He would focus on the field of food security by harvesting fruits as a member of the Urban Farmers and granted fresh produce to families in need as a volunteer at his local church food drives. He would also outreach to younger members of his community by serving as an assistant youth group leader at Holy Rosary Parish while also serving as an assistant coach for Freedom High School Rugby Club. Most recently, Manuel served as the Historian and Academic chair for Raza Unida: a UCD affiliated organization dedicated to empowering Latino men by promoting both cultural competency and academic excellence.
Working for Mercy Housing California as part of CCRH internship program is an incredible opportunity that Manuel is excited to be a part of. He hopes to better understand the process of building affordable housing by learning how to secure funding for project proposals, the industrial process by which housing facilities are built, and how to ensure that the most in need are receiving these resources. His hopes are that this opportunity will give him the experience needed to enter the nonprofit affordable housing field post-graduation, and from there spend several years better learning and understanding the complexities of housing development. Manuel’s goal is to one day own his own corporation, either for profit or nonprofit, which would focus on aiding BIPOC and other socially marginalized communities.