Rob Kerth selected to lead Sacramento Habitat

Rob Kerth takes the reins of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento today.
Rob Kerth takes the reins of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento today. Courtesy of Rob Kerth

Former City Councilman Rob Kerth took over Tuesday as the chief executive of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento, a post that drew 164 applicants, the nonprofit organization announced.

“For years, I’ve recognized that really great people, great families, strong communities are held back because of low rates of homeownership and inadequate housing,” Kerth said. “We expect these to be growth years for Habitat. It’s expanded from Sacramento County to now include Yolo County. We’ve added to the mission. We’re not only building new homes, but we’re also rehabilitating existing homes.”

Pam Saltenberger, Habitat Sacramento’s interim CEO and a member of the executive search committee, said Kerth has cultivated a network of community leaders in his role as a politician and a director of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and those connections will benefit Habitat in its work.

Both Kerth and Saltenberger said a key challenge of the position will be finding ways to replace state aid that the organization once received for redevelopment. Those funds are being eliminated, and Sacramento Habitat will receive the last of that assistance this year.

Kerth, 67, brought Sacramento and Folsom their original holiday ice rinks, and he is responsible for the design of ice rinks in what’s now called Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento and at Squaw Valley U.S.A. He is a scion of the family that established the Iceland rink in North Sacramento, and he still lives near the rink in the Woodlake neighborhood.

Habitat’s fiscal 2015 budget totaled $5.9 million, and it will build and sell nine homes to disadvantaged families this year. The buyers pay no interest and put in sweat equity as they learn critical home maintenance skills.

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee