In November of 2021, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund launched a program to address the underrepresentation of BIPOC investors and developers within the affordable housing industry.
The overarching goal of the Emerging Developer of Color Program is to disrupt the systemic racial barriers to financing for real estate investment and development.
Through this program GMHF promotes:
- Increased racial diversity in Minnesota’s affordable housing development and investment community
- Greater inclusivity and shared opportunities for developers of color within the affordable housing market
- A better equipped housing system enabled to meet the needs of our diverse communities
- Wealth building for BIPOC affordable housing developers and their families
- Increased production and preservation of affordable homes, which Minnesota drastically needs, through contributions made by developers of color
Strategic and Innovative Solutions
This statewide program leverages GMHF’s expertise, partnerships, and strengths to support emerging developers of color. Given the systemic barriers BIPOC investors and developers experience, GMHF provides access to capital via flexible financing tools and grant support for affordable housing projects. In addition, the program offers technical assistance for developers of color to support successful acquisition and management of affordable housing. The program is open on a pipeline basis and program participants represent a diverse group of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and range of experience.
First Year Program Accomplishments
GMHF is proud to have awarded over $13.9 million in flexible, low-cost loan capital and $475,000 in predevelopment grants to 23 affordable housing developments led by emerging developers of color, to produce and preserve 480 units of housing.
Program staff has conducted outreach and engagement with over 100 prospective developers of color, including participation in convenings in Minneapolis, Crookston, Bemidji, and Saint Cloud.
Staff have also provided substantial technical assistance to developers through the program. Activities include:
- Support in responding to requests for proposals for real estate development opportunities
- Conducting a real estate Pro-Forma Training and developing a pro forma template and guide as tools designed for use by emerging developers
- Creating the Quick Start Guide which outlines the process, timeline, and due diligence required for an affordable housing project
- Convening a Community of Practice of BIPOC owner/operators of Small NOAH properties
- Establishing a BIPOC Advisory Committee to gather feedback, study issues, and develop recommendations to improve our efforts and impact
- Organizing an Emerging Developer Expo in partnership with other organizations supporting emerging developers
1821 1st Avenue Apartments was acquired by emerging developer James Crumble using GMHF’s Small NOAH financing and NOAH Preservation Funds from the City of Minneapolis. Eight of the building’s 21 units are affordable with rent and income restrictions at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and the remaining 13 units are rent- and income-restricted at 50% AMI. Mr. Crumble is committed to the mission of preserving affordable housing and has experience working with social service programs that place formerly homeless households in permanent housing.
Amani Construction & Development is a general contracting and real estate development company led by two women of color: Jeniffer Kuria and her daughter Joanne Kuria. They are committed to building and rehabilitating affordable homes so more families can build wealth through homeownership. GMHF provided pre-development grant support and connected Amani Construction with Andersen Windows. GMHF’s effort led to a significant contribution by Andersen Windows, who provided a donation of windows towards the development of five new single-family homes that will be sold to households at 80% AMI, as well as the substantial rehabilitation of one home that will be sold at 115% AMI – a total of 6 affordable homes.
3121 Apartments was acquired by Watchmen Properties, led by Ben Dossman and Marcell Garretson. This project preserves 8 units of affordable housing using GMHF’s Small NOAH financing, a GMHF Predevelopment Grant, and NOAH Preservation Funds from the City of Minneapolis. Mr. Dossman and Mr. Garretson are committed to providing affordable housing and supporting high-needs individuals who require support in overcoming challenges such as homelessness, criminal backgrounds, mental health, and chemical health.
Looking to the Future
GMHF looks forward to continuing this step-by-step approach towards a transformative system change in the affordable housing development industry. We envision a future where affordable housing developers truly reflect Minnesota’s diverse communities and have access to the opportunities, resources, relationships, and information they need to succeed. We are committed to continuing to collaborate with our partners to address the policies and practices that create barriers to BIPOC investment and development.
GMHF is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to address the affordable housing needs of Minnesota’s under-served areas. To learn more, visit www.gmhf.com/EDOC.