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.
Living in Alaska was a dream I first held as a first-grader in what is now known as Silicon Valley. Now, I've lived half my life in the Greatland and enjoy year-round outdoors pursuits including skiing, hiking, and sea kayaking.
I volunteer with Special Olympics and serve as council president for Girl Scouts of Alaska, as well as professional development officer for the Alaska Chapter of APA.
Mitzi Barker is recently retired as Director of Planning and Construction for the Rural Community Action Program, known as “RurAL CAP”. She continues to maintain a consulting practice, specializing in assisting 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. She is a former member of the Municipality of Anchorage Planning & Zoning Commission, and 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 prior 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 served on the board of the National Rural Housing Coalition and is past 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. She is a charter member of AICP