Lancaster Seminary alumnus the Rev. Dr. Laverne Joseph, Master of Divinity 1964, was honored by his undergraduate alma mater with the 2017 Ursinus College Alumni Award for Service to Humanity. The award pays tribute to a person who has greatly benefitted nonprofit community institutions.
Dr. Joseph is president and CEO of the Retirement Housing Foundation of the United Church of Christ, one of the nation’s largest faith-based providers of affordable housing.
He began his work in affordable housing as executive director of Peace Memorial UCC’s housing and health care ministries, which included a nursing home, a home health agency and, under his leadership, developed three senior housing facilities. In 1987, he joined RHF, based in Long Beach, Calif. Founded in 1961 by two UCC clergypersons and a layperson, RHF now serves nearly 21,000 people in 185 communities in 29 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and employs more than 2,800 people.
Most RHF communities are for low or moderate income. individuals. RHF also manages multi-level retirement communities offering a range of options including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.
Dr. Joseph is a board member of the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. Council President and CEO Michael J. Readinger says, "Laverne is a minister who has dedicated his life to ensuring that every person, every family, has a place to call home, a calling that has led to his remarkable impact on the affordable housing movement in this country. He is one of the United Church of Christ’s most passionate justice advocates, and we could not be more proud of him.”