Dennis Lalor, 20-year CEO of South County Housing, died peacefully at home on August 31 at age 71. Under hospice care and with family and friends with him, he died after a long illness caused by an incurable brain tumor first discovered in November 2017.
Mr. Lalor’s loss is huge for many who knew of his effective advocacy and leadership in the field of affordable housing, a subject still very much in the news as California’s housing costs skyrocket more than ever. It is one of the major issues facing voters in some of the four counties where his many projects were built, Santa Clara, San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz.
Dennis is remembered with great respect and appreciation both by people who worked for him, as well as those in city and county governments who approved his projects. He was also well respected and known by many local, state and federal officials, including Congressman Sam Farr. Farr found Mr. Lalor’s ideas and commitment persuasive, supporting many South County Housing projects over the years.
It was no small task to build quality low income housing, sometimes with other amenities like child care centers as well. Under Mr. Lalor’s leadership, South County Housing created several thousand affordable housing units, including apartments and subdivisions of single family homes, some with market priced houses included. Dennis was a visionary and a trailblazer, with these large mix-income projects being the first of their kind in the country. This was especially challenging in the high cost counties where Dennis lived and worked. He received awards and recognition throughout the United States and served as a board member and leader of groups like the National Rural Housing Coalition and Neighborhood Capital Corporation.
A gathering celebrating Dennis Lalor’s life will be held at the Aromas Grange on Saturday, October 6th at 1:30 p.m.