Fellowship program gives minority developers a chance to address affordable housing shortage

The Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship will welcome its first group of minority developers looking to grow their wealth and have a seat at the table as the need for affordable housing in their communities grows.

Up to 15 minority developers will take part in the two-year program offered by Capital Impact Partners, and participate in mentoring and networking opportunities. Lauren Counts, senior director and the head of national programs at Capital Impact Partners, said the goal is to provide developers with a space to grow and thrive.

“We’re focused on connecting communities to capital,” Counts said. “The capital we were deploying for affordable housing, a lot of it was going to more traditional nonprofit developers.”

The $5 million Accelerator Fellowship fund has been years in the making, and is the result of a partnership with Amazon to bring more affordable housing to the D.C. area.

According to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, just 4% of developers in 2013 were Black. In 2020, just 5% of members of the Urban Land Institute described themselves as Black. Counts said she hopes this program will address this kind of lack of diversity.

The online application deadline is Jan. 17.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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