Mitzi Barker, FAICP
Mitzi Barker has devoted her career to expanding housing choices and conditions, particularly in low-income communities. Most recently, she brokered an unprecedented partnership among state, federal, tribal, private, and nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate every home on remote Diomede Island, Alaska. Mitzi was also instrumental in developing APA's policy guides on Housing and Homelessness. Inducted in 2004.
Mitzi Barker is Director of Planning and Construction for the Rural Community Action Program, known as “RurAL CAP”. Since joining RurAL CAP in 1999, she has focused her energies on expanding the agency’s housing lines of business, developing new partnerships with public and private organizations to develop and rehabilitate housing throughout Alaska’s remote rural communities, and fostering locally-driven community planning efforts throughout rural Alaska, as well as work in affordable housing advocacy and policy. In addition to her professional work, Ms Barker currently serves on the Municipality of Anchorage Planning & Zoning Commission, where her portfolio includes housing and transportation. She is a contributing lecturer on community development and planning at both the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Ms. Barker is well-known in housing and community development circles in Alaska, through her employment with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and more recently, as manager of community development for the Municipality of Anchorage. Before coming to Alaska in 1986, Mitzi served as housing director for the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and executive director of the Denver Emergency Housing Coalition, Colorado’s largest single provider of emergency and transitional housing for homeless families with children. In 2004, she was inducted into the AICP College of Fellows, the first Alaskan to be so honored. She has served as President of the Alaska Chapter of the American Planning Association, and on the Association’s national board of directors where she chaired the Legislative and Policy Committee. In 2012, the Alaska Chapter of APA named her Planner of the Year. She currently serves on the board of the National Rural Housing Coalition and is Chair of APA’s Housing & Community Development Division. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Mitzi completed her undergraduate studies at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She earned her Masters degree in geography and area development from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was also involved in self-help housing and community revitalization activities in low-income minority communities.