Staff Chats: Shawna Van Zee, Community Development & Neighborhood Services

Hear from City staff about their COVID-19 work, how they're staying connected and what they hope to learn from community members like you.

With more people staying at home, have you seen any silver linings in your field of work?

SVZ: The work of our Home2Health team focuses on the connection between housing affordability and health equity. Our work feels more relevant than ever, as this pandemic has highlighted the connection between our community’s housing and health. During this time where people across the world are staying at home if they can, I think many of us have gained a new appreciation for how important it is to have a stable, affordable, safe place to live. As we move forward, we see a huge opportunity to elevate the voices of those who have been historically underrepresented and integrate health equity into future policy decisions.

What COVID-19 work – from your office or that you’ve worked on personally – are you most proud of?

SVZ: I am so proud of our Home2Health team and their hard work developing creative ways to support and engage our community during this time. Our partners at the Center for Public Deliberation at CSU created an entirely online training for our Community Guides program that we are so excited to share with all of you! This program is designed to give you an opportunity to connect with members of your own community so that their voices can be included in local decision making. Anyone who is interested in learning more can check out our Home2Health website at

Have you started any new household or neighbor traditions or activities during the last several weeks?

SVZ: I have been staying at my family’s farm during the pandemic, so I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews. I’ve played more games with them in the last two months than I have over the last few years combined! I’m getting to teach them Dutch Blitz, which is a family favorite of ours, so I’m excited to pass that tradition on to them.

What do you miss most about life before COVID?

SVZ: I miss celebrating in person with friends. I’m so grateful for technology that has allowed me to stay connected in some way, but nothing beats sharing life’s highs and lows in person with those you care about. I can’t wait for dinner parties, bonfires, birthday parties, baby showers, and all the other small ways we celebrate together!

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