The Journey Continues: Albert Sierra
My journey this week took me to Albert Sierra, Director of the San Marcos Public Housing Authority.
Graduating from Cutulla High School in 1965, he entered Southwest Texas State the following fall and graduated in 1969 with a degree in business management. Beginning in 1970, he has served in a myriad of positions at city hall – serving in the office of Urban Renewal, as acting assistant city manager and city manager culminating in his current position as director of public housing in 1981.
A basic need of folks is shelter and food. And the mission of the San Marcos Public Housing Authority is to provide affordable housing that is safe, decent and sanitary for occupants with low income. And Sierra takes his job seriously.
“Part of the success I have enjoyed is due to the fact that I surrounded myself with good people,” Sierra said.
Since 1981, he has personally interviewed most of the tenants assigned to CM Allen, Allen Wood and Porter Homes.
“I have seen people at the absolute bottom of life who through their resiliency and determination have used public housing as a stepping stone to reach their vision of a better life,” Sierra said.
“Often at a critical life decision point there has been someone who helped you to be where you are at today. I have learned that if people are treated fairly – as it says in Matthew 7:12: ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you’ – that they will feel respect and dignity.”
This Golden Rule given by Jesus is his life verse. It shows through his concern and interaction with tenants, which often includes individual sessions dealing with financial management, family dynamics, health issues and even housekeeping.
In 2015, Sierra faced the displacement of families caused by the Memorial Day flood. For the first time ever, C M Allen Homes was inundated with flood waters in all the 100 units.
Sierra is a husband, father of three children – Selena Ann, Albert Philip and Denise Elaine – and a proud grandfather of three grandchildren. He and his wife Becky are members of St. John Catholic Church in Hunter, Texas.
Through the years Albert Sierra has participated in the life of the community through active support of the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, CASA, Salvation Army, LULAC, Boy Scouts of America. He has also assisted on three missionary trips to a Lords Ranch outside of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Albert Sierra considers his position as both a privilege and a ministry.