An innovative approach to address the ongoing need for affordable housing in Dallas is showing results. Innovan Neighborhoods launched the Community Developers Roundtable in September 2022. The two-year pilot is designed to create more affordable housing options—both through owning and renting—as well as to address gaps in the community development ecosystem with a long-term, developer-led structure.
During the nine-month program, the first CDR cohort of 15 added 112 housing units and six commercial projects to the pipeline. They also participated in a 10-site project tour and learned from 38 guest speakers. The developers will continue to have fingerprints on the Dallas community development market through catalytic projects, serving in leadership positions, and engaging with the second cohort. A few examples of that first cohort include:
- Jason Brown with Dallas City Homes and Armonia Apartments;
- Olga Lopez, serving as the Chair of the Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
- Jordan D’Silva, building industrial coworking spaces for mid-size businesses;
- James A. Armstrong leading the city of Dallas anti-displacement policy.
Offering a $1M dedicated pre-development fund
In addition to providing opportunities to underrepresented real estate professionals, the roundtable offers a $1 million dollar dedicated pre-development fund—money given in the form of stipends for developers to train staff through technical assistance, professional coaching, and project feasibility studies.
The new cohort members will meet monthly through June 2024 for eight sessions and two networking events. Their collective experience includes developing or rehabbing more than 140 units across Dallas-Fort Worth—with another 50 under construction or in the pipeline.
Meet the new roundtable members
Brichard Humphrey is the CEO of Caliber Community Group, LLC. He serves as a lead developer and general contractor. Brichard’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for real estate is catalyzing positive change in the housing landscape and the communities it serves. CCG has completed two partial remodels, three full fix-and-flip renovations, nine single-family new construction projects, and has three more projects in the pipeline.
Marguerite Felder is a pillar of the Dallas community and has a passion for real estate. Her company, Felder Homes LLC is the driving force behind the construction of innovative residential homes and understands the city’s diverse communities. Marguerite is able to tailor her projects to meet residents’ unique needs and has built eight homes over the past three years through her South Dallas business.
Monica Balderas is the founder and CEO of Longhorn Contractors. Her real estate journey spans 11 years, during which she transformed abandoned homes and neighborhoods into assets that enable economic growth and social well-being. Monica has built and renovated more than 15 single-family homes, four commercial projects, and more than 10,000-square-feet of multi-family unit apartment homes.
Kwame Ellis has more than 15 years of experience as a real estate developer & property manager with expertise in real development — otherwise known as inclusive growth. During this time he has grown his company, Titan & Associates’ construction services division, by securing contracts with DFW municipalities, producing more than $1 Million dollars in awards.
Titan & Associates is currently working on one single-family redevelopment, 10 single-family new construction homes, seven single-family redevelopment(s), and 15 new single-family construction homes. Keeping inclusivity in mind, all of his projects are for low- to moderate-income families.
Jay McIlveen is the president of Five Star Properties, a family-owned real estate investment company based in Dallas-Fort Worth. With a passion for improving underserved communities, Jay works to help homeowners in distress. Five Star Properties has purchased, rehabbed, and sold (or rented) more than 40 single-family homes since 2002. Currently Five Star has 15 single-family homes in its portfolio.
Entrepreneur Raythetta Nicole Sternes owns Nicole Sternes Experience, LLC. She has a diverse background and has been recognized for her expertise and passion. Nicole connects with the community using the hashtag #SoldWithNicole and has become a trusted advisor because she works to provide affordable, quality housing options for first-time buyers. With experience rehabbing several single-family homes, she is expanding into multifamily development and currently has two duplex units in the pipeline.
Sametrius Ruben is the president of Ruben Acquisitions and Development, LLC. Her experience includes rehabbing more than 10 units, and she’s spearheading more than 20 new construction projects. Alongside her business ventures, she is devoted to her community, serving on boards of numerous Dallas nonprofits. Her children’s resilience and spirit continually inspire her. Sametrius stands as a testament to the power of perseverance, community involvement, and the pursuit of excellence.
Voices contributor Nicole Ward is a data journalist for the Dallas Regional Chamber.
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