Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is saddened by the news of Darlene Tooley’s passing.  The longtime Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority Executive Director was a fierce advocate for tribes and worked tirelessly to ensure access to housing opportunities and inclusion in state housing programs. She was a much-valued partner to RCAC and she will be deeply missed.

“Darlene was an early innovator and leader in Tribal housing in California.  She was a lone voice for many years on the California Coalition for Rural Housing board and much of the current funding success and getting the State to focus on tribal housing are a direct result of Darlene’s advocacy,” said David Ferrier, RCAC Housing Programs Director.

“Darlene was a kind but fierce advocate for housing for Indigenous people during her long and fruitful career.  She was also a mentor for many.  Her legacy will live on,”  said Michael Carroll, RCAC Vector Fund Director.

“When I was beginning to work on housing in Indian Country, Darlene generously shared some of her vast knowledge with me. I appreciate that she directly and politely ‘wised me up’ about cultural approaches to housing that I was oblivious to. Her mentorship made me better at my work,“ said Eileen Piekarz, RCAC Development & Technical Assistance Specialist, Housing.

“Darlene was an incredible woman and instrumental in pursuing equity for the tribes in California. We are incredibly sad she left us, but her legacy and her accomplishments stay with us to remind us that her determination and passion created many opportunities for the Tribal communities! We will miss her dearly; she was a mentor and an inspiration for all the women in the housing industry,” said Erika Holzhauer, RCAC Capacity Building Program Manager, Housing.

Our team sends heartfelt condolences to Darlene’s family, friends and colleagues.