Longtime Loudoun planner and leader on the county’s efforts to increase housing affordability Sarah Coyle Etro was recognized at the kickoff of the Community Foundation’s Workforce Housing Now campaign June 14.
Etro, who is retiring from Loudoun County after 32 years, has been at the forefront of the county’s attainable housing work, although often uncelebrated as she worked in county government to start and shape Loudoun’s ongoing efforts today such as the Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan. And at the surprise recognition of her impact on Tuesday, she again deferred her personal accolades to the importance of the mission and the community effort.
“It’s not about what I’ve been able to do, it’s the support and the partnership of the community,” she said. “I’m so excited about this community awareness campaign, for example. It’s taking the plan and making it real, and getting it out there and getting it to the next place. I’ve had the support of great boards of supervisors, had the chance to work with them, so it’s not about what one person does—it’s about what we do together, and I truly believe that.”
Assistant County Administrator Valmarie Turner highlighted Etro’s long service to the county as the “resident expert on housing.” Under Etro’s leadership the administration evolved toward a new focus on housing, with the housing division moving from a division with the Department of Family Services, into the Office of the County Administrator, and this year established as Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Sarah actually took an entire year off of her day-to-day to work specifically on the Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan,” Turner said. “She was in the county administrator’s office in an office of her own, and she led that project as the project manager. And … we are so extremely proud of the work that she has done, and the legacy that she she’s leaving.”