James Gutierrez’s efforts to create housing and economic development initiatives to benefit low-income communities were recognized in 2010. It is when he received the Leadership in Innovation Award from the California Community Reinvestment Association.
During his interview, Gutierrez gave a brief history of the growth of low-income housing in San Bernardino and the challenges of such efforts. James Gutierrez began his career as a restaurant server, where he learned to work with clients. Gutierrez recalls that he was not interested in the “toil and hardship” associated with working in the restaurant industry. However, he had no choice and continued to work in the industry.
He ended up deciding that working in the restaurant industry was no place for him and went on to earn his Master’s of Public Health in health and wellness. He worked with groups of homeless youth and worked with underprivileged college students.
During his interview, Gutierrez gave a brief history of the growth of low-income housing in San Bernardino and the challenges of such efforts. James Gutierrez may be a self-taught architect and developer, but he certainly didn’t build the technology he now utilizes to address the diverse problems facing America’s low-income communities.
James Gutierrez used an “inclusive and equitable” approach to alleviate poverty in a multitude of cities across the country. Gutierrez learned about fair housing, the media, and the power of knowledge from the University of Texas.
Today Gutierrez is an award-winning developer and activist with The Immigrant Development Project, one of several organizations he founded and now leads. Gutierrez, originally from Guatemala, is proud of the progress he has made over the years and takes great pride in his innovation.
James Gutierrez believes the average American does not understand the magnitude of the wealth gap between them and the millions of other families living in poverty. Not enough people feel as if they can relate to what happens to poor families, he said. He works hard to inspire people to empathize with them.