Community Vision is thrilled to announce the launch of the California Community-Owned Real Estate (CalCORE) Program. Founded in partnership with Genesis LA, a Los Angeles-based CDFI, CalCORE supports increasing community-controlled and mission-driven real estate for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color across California. Both CDFIs bring extensive experience providing financing and advice for real estate projects and are committed to cultivating wealth generation, power-building, and place-keeping by supporting self-determination and community ownership of community assets.
CalCORE is a five-year, state-wide initiative that supports small and emergent developers, with a focus on BIPOC-led Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Land Trusts (CLTs). The program is a responsive strategy that builds the number, capacity, and efficacy of local CDCs and CLTs and supports community-led real estate development, acquisition, and mitigates displacement by ensuring local ownership and long-term affordability. These deeply-rooted organizations are nonprofit real estate actors and often serve as a buffer between the commercial real estate market and their communities, but often face both capacity and capital barriers for wider community impact.
“We know that community ownership of real estate keeps people rooted in their neighborhoods and is foundational to wealth-building,” said Ruby Harris, Community Vision’s Co-Director of Lending. “Our goal is for CalCORE to support community-based organizations to create sustainable solutions to the real estate gap that leaves so many communities at the mercy of the whims of the market.”
Developed in partnership with community organizations and partners, CalCORE operates on a holistic cohort and peer-based model. Key goals of the program include:
- Build informal statewide and regional community real estate networks that bolster or establish new and lasting connections between small, local nonprofit real estate developers.
- Strengthen participant organizations’ operations and advance their real estate project(s) through a blend of training, peer learning, and deep one-on-one technical assistance.
- Develop flexible and affordable predevelopment and capital pools that are more easily accessible to community real estate projects.
- Establish local referral networks that are culturally competent (both to BIPOC and nonprofit communities) to make it easier for cohort participants to connect with service providers to support their projects.
“Genesis LA is excited to partner with Community Vision on the CalCORE Program,” said Tom De Simone, President & CEO of Genesis LA. “Overcoming the barriers to local community-driven development and ownership requires close collaboration with partners and flexibility in deploying capital. By leveraging the expertise of both organizations we create the opportunity for greater impact across California.”
In Spring 2021, CalCORE launched its first cohort made up of sixteen organizations from across the state who will spend the next year focusing on residential development and preservation. Participants are paired with an experienced real estate consultant, and meet monthly for half-day virtual trainings and peer learning sessions. All sessions are bi-lingual in English and Spanish and continuous input is solicited from participants and partners to tailor to their specific needs, and to meet the shifting realities of a dynamic real estate market heavily impacted by COVID-19.
CalCORE’s first cohort includes the following organizations:
- Ecclesia Church San Bernardino Community Development Corporation, San Bernardino
- Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre, Boyle Heights
- Jovenes, Inc., Los Angeles
- Lowell Community Development Corporation, Fresno
- Oakland Community Land Trust, Oakland
- People of Color Sustainable Housing Network, Bay Area
- Richmond LAND, Richmond
- Sacramento Community Land Trust, Sacramento
- South Bay Community Land Trust, Santa Clara County
- South of Market Community Action Network, San Francisco
- STAND, Stockton
- SW Fresno Community Development Corporation, Fresno
- T.R.U.S.T. South LA, Los Angeles
- Thrive Santa Ana, Orange County
- TrueEvolution, Riverside
- Vallejo Community Land Trust, Vallejo
“I’m excited to receive guidance and information on actualizing our shared vision for BIPOC women and family-led collective urban and rural spaces, and to share this support for other groups in our network,” said Marissa Ashkar of the People of Color Sustainable Housing Network. “It’s powerful to be in community in the training space itself with people from other community-based organizations also working on land co-stewardship projects.”
CalCORE’s second cohort will launch in June 2022 and will focus on non-housing commercial real estate such as office, retail, commercial corridors, agriculture, and industrial. Applications for the program will be available in April 2022.