Through CSH’s 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. There are significant racial disparities for BIPOC communities across multiple crisis public systems in New Jersey due to historic and systemic racism and marginalization, like the homeless systems. At the same time, there are many emerging and established BIPOC developers in New Jersey who want to expand the supportive and affordable housing development pipeline.
At Monarch Housing Associates’ Housing as a Human Right Conference in October 2022, CSH’s Senior Community Investment Officer Michael Telesford participated in the “Diversity in Development” panel, moderated by Monarch’s CEO Taiisa Kelly. Mr. Telesford was joined by fellow panelists Rev. Eric Dobson, Deputy Director of Fair Share Housing Center and Adenah Bayoh, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Foya Development Group. Ms. Bayoh is a BIPOC developer with a growing portfolio; she is the only Black woman led developer in the state to have submitted a Low Income Housing Tax Credit proposal this year.
The panel’s audience included dozens of New Jersey housing developers, financers, and providers and discussion focused on the barriers BIPOC developers face in terms of bias and discrimination, perceived lack of experience and support, and relying on co-venture projects. Mr. Telesford shared CSH’s new multi-million-dollar, five-year lending and capacity-building Redesigning Access by Centering Equity (RACE) initiative, which includes committed resources CSH offers to BIPOC developers, including lower interest rates. The CSH Community Investment and Metro Team will establish a BIPOC Learning Collaborative with key partners in the coming months in New Jersey to continue these important discussions and develop concrete policy recommendations to remove existing barriers.
CSH’s work in this space is generously supported by Bank of America New Jersey.