Real Estate

Closing the Housing Gap

We are developing new nonprofit-owned models of development and financing to help communities close the housing gap.

OVERVIEW

Community Solutions is pioneering models that can help communities close the housing gaps that stand in the way of achieving functional zero for homelessness. In the U.S., there is a shortage of available affordable housing for our most low-income renters. Across the country, we are delivering new housing models that revolutionize the way affordable and supportive housing are developed. By combining nonprofit ownership with flexible financing through impact capital, we are bringing new housing units into the system in a much faster, cost-efficient, and flexible way. Data gathered by Built for Zero communities are guiding these efforts to ensure housing solutions are targeted to the specific challenges within those local markets.

Additionally, we manage all of our projects through the “property management plus” model, which applies the best practices of supportive housing in traditional residential projects. We apply this innovative approach to housing development across a variety of project types:

  • Acquisition and repositioning of existing multifamily buildings
  • New construction of multifamily and scattered site housing
  • Implementation of community land trusts
  • Development of community-based projects that strengthen housing systems 
  • Design and implementation of policy solutions to increase housing supply  

Man sitting on a public street

The Challenge

From Built for Zero data, we know that access to rental apartments is the major barrier to ending veteran homelessness in many places. Traditional methods of creating affordable units take too long to close the housing gap.

Finishing the job of ending homelessness will require increased access to homes, particularly in markets with rapidly increasing rents.

Outside of abrigo apartments

Our Approach

We’ve pioneered new, faster methods to bring affordable housing online for people experiencing homelessness. By using social impact investment, we’ve demonstrated a replicable way to finance and operate these residences to ensure every veteran has a safe, secure home.

Using these methods, we aim to create affordable housing in Built for Zero communities to help end homelessness for target populations.

Pillars of the social impact investment real estate model

invest

Investors who are interested in social impact beyond making a return on their money, instead of financing through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which can take years

Ownership by national or local nonprofits with shared goals, which are not incentivized to maximize the profit of the property

properties connected to the housing system

Properties connected to the housing system so that housing is prioritized for people experiencing homelessness who are most in need

An enhanced property management model that offers support, community resources, and other services that tenants may need to stay stably housed 

Dave Foster, head of real estate at Community Solutions, explains how social impact investment can help end homelessness. This model is currently being used in Atlanta, Denver, and Santa Fe.

Project Portfolio

Santa Fe partnered with Community Solutions to purchase a hotel to provide more than 120 people a safe place to live, while accelerating the city’s efforts to end homelessness in the process.
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe Suites

Santa Fe partnered with Community Solutions to purchase a hotel to provide more than 120 people a safe place to live, while accelerating the city’s efforts to end homelessness in the process.

Centra Villa
Atlanta, Georgia

Centra Villa

Centra Villa is a 132-unit affordable housing development funded using a housing model that leverages social impact capital to create permanent, supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness.

Swift Factory
NORTH HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

Swift Factory

Swift Factory, a former gold leaf manufacturing center located at the heart North Hartford, has been transformed into a vibrant hub for entrepreneurship, training, learning and community engagement.

Centra Villa, in Southwest Atlanta, will provide housing options for veterans in need.

“The current system for delivering affordable housing is too expensive, inflexible, and slow to meet the needs of rapidly growing communities. The social-impact investment model that we pioneered solves for these challenges in a way that can be replicated by nearly any community.”

Dave Foster, Principal and head of Real Estate at Community Solutions
Become a Partner

Our Team

Shontá Browdy

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Dave Foster

Dave Foster

Principal

dfoster@community.solutions

Dave is a Principal at Community Solutions, where he leads the organization’s work to develop innovative real estate and financing models in communities across the country. In this role, he oversees the development and management of the organization’s commercial, mixed-use and residential projects in Hartford; Brownsville, Brooklyn and Washington, DC, as well as its work to expand the supply of supportive and affordable housing in communities participating in the Built for Zero initiative. From 2008-2014, he served as the president of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a non-profit economic development corporation in Camden, NJ, where he oversaw more than $350M in new investment in the community. Prior to his work in Camden, Dave was an attorney in the real estate department at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia and also worked for a large real estate development company in China. His military service includes duty as an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division, a posting in the Pentagon, and a combat tour in Afghanistan. Dave received his B.A. from Washington & Lee University and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • LOVES: NEW IDEAS
  • HATES: BUSINESS AS USUAL
  • SUPER POWER: BRIDGE BUILDER


Patrick McKenna profile picture

Patrick McKenna

Senior Project Manager, Real Estate

pmckenna@community.solutions

Pronouns: He/Him/His

As a Senior Project Manager, Patrick is responsible for the day to day management of the real estate development activities from concept to construction completion for the Hartford, CT projects as part of the Inspiring Places team. Prior to Community Solutions, Patrick worked as an architect for more than 10 years in his native Ireland and the US on a wide range of projects including residential, commercial, mixed use, cultural and education. Patrick is passionate about sustainable design, urban farming and the role that good design and building rehabilitation can have on the social, environmental and economic issues facing our most vulnerable communities. He is the Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity in New Haven, CT and the Co-chair of the building committee of the local Habitat for Humanity. Patrick received a BS in Architecture from Queens University in Ireland and a Diploma in Architecture from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, Scotland.

  • LOVES: GOOD DESIGN
  • HATES: BROKEN SYSTEMS
  • SUPER POWER: GAELIC FOOTBALLER
John Napolitano

John Napolitano

Senior Project Manager of Inspiring Places, Brownsville Partnership

jnapolitano@community.solutions

Pronouns: He/Him/His

John Napolitano serves as the Senior Project Manager of Inspiring Places for the Brownsville Partnership. John is an urban planning professional with 20 years of experience in community development and project management and a deep personal commitment to affordable housing for those who need it most, including low-income families, the elderly, and those at risk of homelessness.  Prior to joining Community Solutions in 2017, John served as a Director for two large nonprofits in NYC, overseeing the design, construction, and financing of over 800 units of affordable housing, including residences with commercial/mixed-use components and passive house design standards. Given Community Solutions’ mission of strengthening communities and ending homelessness, John and the rest of the Inspiring Places team have been tasked with developing new, equitable housing models in Brownsville, Brooklyn that are affordable to a range of incomes. John lends expertise and institutional backing to the Brownsville Community Land Trust (CLT) and helps land RFPs in Brownsville. John holds a Master’s Degree in Planning from Pratt Institute and is a graduate of New York University’s Leadership Enhancement Program, as well as a former member of housing policy organizations such as LiveOn New York and the Municipal Arts Society.  In his free time, John is actively involved in the mentorship of several young men who have aged out of the foster care system, helping them in their transition to adulthood.

  • LOVES: GOOD DESIGN
  • HATES: STATUS QUO THINKING
  • SUPER POWER: COMMUNITY CONNECTOR

Sweta Patel

Deputy Director, Real Estate

spatel@community.solutions

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

As a Deputy Director with Community Solutions’ Real Estate team, Sweta brings her design background to guide our real estate and community development initiatives in Hartford, CT. She has more than 10 years of work experience in the fields of architecture, urban planning and economic development, which she uses to foster Community Solutions’ integrated approach of building healthy and sustainable communities. Prior to joining Community Solutions, Sweta worked as an architectural designer in Philadelphia, PA and with Common Ground to manage the development of supportive housing projects in New York City. Sweta received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pennsylvania State University and an MS in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics.

  • LOVES: GOOD DESIGN
  • HATES: STATUS QUO THINKING
  • SUPER POWER: WORLD TRAVELER
Allyson Randolph

Allyson Randolph

  • LOVES: Design thinking
  • HATES: Complacency
  • SUPER POWER: Systems thinker

READ MORE

Share
CLOSE