Local Initiatives Support Corporation Puget Sound and Amazon Announce Graduation of Housing Equity Accelerator Fellows


The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Puget Sound's Housing Equity Accelerator (HEA) fellowship is helping to equip the next generation of Seattle-area developers of color. After a year of learning, investments, and relationship building, the program's first 13 fellows will graduate on April 27, 2023, at the Northwest African American Museum. With 25 projects in the pipeline representing $580 million in total development, these Fellows are ready to build affordable homes and shape Puget Sound communities for the better. 

Supported by Amazon's Housing Equity Fund, the HEA program is designed to augment the capacity of development firms owned and led by people of color — helping to diversify a sector that has been overwhelmingly white — and address the affordable-housing crisis in one of the country's most challenging markets.

"Addressing our affordable housing crisis requires us to make bold investments that scale and expedite development. Structural racism and implicit bias have held back talented developers of color, and now, more than ever, our region needs their capacity and vision," said Lauren McGowan, LISC Puget Sound Executive Director

According to one recent study, Black and Hispanic developers together make up less than one percent of the real estate development sector. That imbalance deprives people of color of an important wealth-building opportunity. And it's especially troubling in the world of affordable housing and community development, where responsiveness to the priorities of communities — often communities of color — is mission critical. The HEA is just one of several LISC Puget Sound initiatives working to address economic, housing and racial justice. Together with partners, LISC is working to meaningfully increase the supply of affordable homes in the region and close the racial wealth gaps that undermine well-being. 

"The Housing Equity Accelerator is an essential tool for creating greater equity among communities of color across the residential real estate development industry," said Senthil Sankaran, Principal, The Amazon Housing Equity Fund. "We're grateful for the opportunity to partner with LISC on this critical work." 

The 2023 Housing Equity Fellowship Graduates include:

  • Hamdi Abdulle, executive director, African Community Housing and Development
  • Shirwa Aden, senior case manager and team supervisor, African Community Housing and Development
  • Slayman Appadolo, project manager, Greenbirdz
  • Leslie Byrd, principal, Alpha Sharp Development Partners Inc.
  • Sylvester Cann IV, co-founder, CG Real Estate Group LLC
  • Ashley Gallacher, co-founder, CG Real Estate Group LLC
  • Kay Cole, developer, Quality Development
  • Annette Demps, managing member, A&D Quality Construction
  • Keith Demps, Sr., managing member, A&D Quality Construction
  • Jaebadiah Gardner, CEO, GardnerGlobal
  • K. Wyking Garrett, CEO, Africatown Community Land Trust
  • Darmetric Maloy, principal, Signature Development
  • Rita Green, executive assistant to the CEO and board liaison, Africatown Community Land Trust

"What we bring to affordable housing development is the deep, deep understanding of what housing can do for families," said Sylvester Cann IV, HEA fellow and co-founder of CG Real Estate Group. "We do not ignore what our success in this work does for our family and our children's future because we acknowledge that we began life in the same place many of the families we are trying to house currently exist." 

About LISC

LISC 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 $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.

Contact Information:
Lauren McGowan
Executive Director, LISC Puget Sound
[email protected]

Original Source: Local Initiatives Support Corporation Puget Sound and Amazon Announce Graduation of Housing Equity Accelerator Fellows

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