FARGO – Jessica Thomasson, director of Lutheran Social Services Housing, has been promoted to the newly created position of Vice President of Social Enterprise at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota.
According to CEO Robert Sanderson, “With the completion of seven nonprofit affordable rental housing projects across the state in just four years, Lutheran Social Services Housing, under Jessica’s direction, has demonstrated how our agency can meet the needs of North Dakotans in new ways. As we move forward with social enterprise as a formal part of our organizational structure, we are confident that Jessica will provide the leadership to help the agency creatively improve and expand its services.”
Thomasson will continue to lead Lutheran Social Services Housing in her new position.
Thomasson joined Lutheran Social Services of ND in 2008 as director of the agency’s new housing program. Lutheran Social Services Housing has since successfully developed affordable nonprofit housing projects to meet critical needs in Ray, Watford City, Parshall, Stanley, Lakota, Northwood and Tioga with additional projects under development. The first Lutheran Social Services Legacy Living affordable senior apartments with supportive living options are under construction in Jamestown and Williston.
In his annual State of the State Address on Jan. 8, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple recognized Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota for its leadership in providing affordable housing.
“There is one organization that has been the clear leader in organizing low-income housing projects,” Governor Dalrymple said. “Lutheran Social Services deserves our full gratitude for putting together projects across the state. Talk about making a real difference in North Dakota. Thank you and everyone at Lutheran Social Services for your commitment to North Dakota. As you have said, housing is much more than just walls and ceilings. It’s key to community stability and our quality of life.”
In 2011 Thomasson was honored with a Statewide Champion of Affordable Housing Leadership Award from the North Dakota Housing Finance Association (NDHFA).
When testifying before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee last year in Williston about the need for quality, affordable housing in North Dakota, Thomasson noted, “People are desperate for housing. They are desperate to reunite their families and make a home together in rural North Dakota. But living in a camper or a car or a room in someone’s basement is not a sustainable lifestyle. Good jobs or not, people won’t stay if they can’t build a life. And safe, quality, affordable housing is an essential component of continued community success.”
Thomasson holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the LaFollette Center of Public Affairs. She served as the City of Fargo’s senior planner in the Department of Community Development from 1998 to 2006 and as senior deputy director of Fannie Mae’s North Dakota Community Business Center in 2006-07.