Redesigning Access by Centering Equity (RACE Initiative)

Through our work to advance supportive housing in communities across the country, CSH has witnessed the significant overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) individuals within the homeless system and institutional settings. Yet, there remains a substantial underrepresentation of BIPOC developers in the affordable and supportive housing industries. To bridge this gap and expand BIPOC developers' access to capital and resources, we have launched the "Redesigning Access by Centering Equity" or RACE Initiative. In 2021, we committed more than $60 million in lending and aim to allocate more funds over the next five years. 

Race Initiative (2)

Today, just 2% of the real estate industry includes companies that are Black-led.

The nation’s racial wealth gap has left BIPOC developers with inadequate material wealth and resources.

Recognizing these realities and in line with our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, which calls for a fundamental shift toward equity as a framework, CSH is seeking to build the capacity of these groups by providing financing and technical assistance, while working with local government partners to center equity within their own funding decisions.

CSH has designed the RACE Initiative to holistically address systemic racism in the supportive housing industry. Our goals are to:

Increase the number of loans and investments provided by CSH to BIPOC-led groups.

Increase the proportion of CSH’s overall lending investment offered to BIPOC-led groups.

Make resources & tools available to BIPOC-led developers using CSH’s signature Incubator Academy and Supportive Housing Institute(s), personalized trainings, & one-on-one technical assistance.

Advance policies that reduce barriers for BIPOC-led developers to access critical financing resources needed to fund, develop, maintain, and operate supportive housing in the long term.

Through this initiative, CSH will provide:



  • Project Initiation Loans: very early stage, flexible, interest-free loans to kick-start projects.
  • Predevelopment and Acquisition Loans: CSH offers early-stage high LTV and unsecured loans for supportive housing property acquisition and development.
  • Developer Fee Bridge Loans: loans with terms of up to two years will provide early access to development fee earnings to hire staff and bolster operations for these businesses.

Technical Assistance

  • Supportive Housing Institute/Incubator Academy: provide intensive technical assistance to BIPOC developers
  • Development Consultants: CSH will align the use of development consultants, to provide supports with low-income housing tax credit applications (planning and preparation) as well as project-level consulting for state/local tax credit funding rounds.
  • On-going technical support: CSH will provide technical assistance to BIPOC developers until the occupancy of the project is stabilized.
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Systems Connection

  • Advocate for prioritization of equity in funding decisions: The issues facing BIPOC developers are systemic and cannot be solved by CSH alone. We acknowledge that in addition to CSH’s efforts, we also need government partners to join us in correcting years of injustices and deliberate actions that have set BIPOC communities back. As part of this initiative, CSH will advocate for the prioritization of BIPOC developers for financing awards.

The People Behind the Work

Shellon as RACE Initiative Lead

Shellon Fraser

RACE Lending Initiative Project Director

Shellon Fraser has over ten years of experience in community development finance and has spent her career focusing on access to resources for under-served communities. Ms. Fraser is responsible for leading the creation and implementation of the RACE Initiative nationwide.

Race Initiative

Nicole Brookshire

National Consulting Director at CSH

Nicole Brookshire has over twenty-years of experience in driving enterprise-wide transformational change, targeting social and programmatic impact across communities. Mrs. Brookshire is responsible for offering consulting support to Field Operation offices, leadership, also providing technical assistance and project management support to national supportive housing projects

Race Initiative

Pascale Leone

VP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Ms. Leone is responsible for crafting CSH’s strategic vision to advance a comprehensive Racial Equity Framework both internally and externally across the organization’s four lines of business. In this role, Ms. Leone works to foster and promote a diverse and inclusive work environment, ensure the organization’s accountability and commitment to equitable outcomes, and partner with Human Resources to craft and integrate the organization’s workforce diversity strategy for hiring and developing diverse talent.

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