LISC, Amazon award fellowships to 10 minority developers to expand affordable housing, grow their local businesses

SEATTLE, March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has selected 10 local real estate developers focused on affordable housing to participate in its inaugural Housing Equity Accelerator (HEA) program, funded by a grant from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund.

The program, which is free of charge to participants, is a part-time professional development and career advancement program that aims to lower the obstacles that emerging real estate developers of color can face when trying to get real estate projects off the ground. The goal of the program is to increase the number of real estate developers of color who focus on affordable housing and to accelerate these developments.

The inaugural group of participants is a diverse mix of developers who are already creating and preserving affordable homes in the region. With this new program they will receive formal real estate development training and workshops, mentorship, and access to financing.

“This is a remarkable group of talented, creative professionals who can lead transformative affordable housing efforts in our communities,” said A.J. Cari, senior program officer with LISC Puget Sound, who is spearheading the local effort. “HEA is designed to help them grow their businesses as well as well as their project portfolios, supporting strong employment in Black-led enterprises that has a ripple effect well beyond anyone single program.”

The inaugural list of fellows includes:

Hamdi Abdulle, executive director, African Community Housing and Development
Slayman Appadolo, project manager, Cham Refugees Community
Leslie Byrd, vice president of investment strategy, Alpha Sharp Development Partners
Sylvester Cann, president, Creek Front Group
Kay Cole, developer, Quality Development
Annette Demps, managing member, A&D Quality Construction
Jaebadiah Gardner, managing partner, OnPoint Real Estate Services
K. Wyking Garrett, CEO, Africantown Community Land Trust
Darmetric Maloy, principal, Signature Development
Darray Murphy, development acquisitions coordinator, Quality Acquisitions LLC

“The level of talent and the desire to support affordable housing initiatives that we have seen through this program so far are energizing,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “Bringing more diverse voices, ideas, and perspectives into the conversation around inclusive community building is how we are going to make the most meaningful and lasting change to affordable housing.” 

The HEA stems from a $21 million pilot program launched by the Amazon Housing Equity Fund to support emerging real estate developers of color in Amazon’s hometown communities in the Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Va. region; and Nashville. The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is the company’s more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable homes in these regions. The Fund also supports minority-led organizations to help them build a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color.

The HEA builds on established offerings from LISC and dovetails with the organization’s Project 10X initiative, which is investing $1 billion to bridge racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity throughout the country.

Participants can expect the following:

In-person classroom instruction on real estate fundamentals, affordable housing trends, public policy, and financing best practices
Business advisors to provide insights in navigating the real estate industry and development projects.
Professional networking opportunities with industry leaders, researchers, and established real estate developers
Access to capital for pre-development expenses, such as architectural and engineering costs; permitting, survey, and site-planning fees; and market and feasibility studies.

About LISCLISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to create more than 436,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of retail, community, and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org or for learn more about LISC Puget Sound at www.lisc.org/puget-sound/.

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

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