YIMBYism: Sharing the Land Through Partnership
Locals and landowners want affordable housing. Take a here-and-now look at unique landowners and localities and how they want to share the land for affordable housing.
Dr. Gina Merritt, MBA, Principal at Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures L.L.C. provides advice to any woman looking to get into the industry on the Real Estate Development panel at the DCRE Conference!
Your hiring habits could be the problem when it comes to DEI efforts, local leaders say...
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I've built over 7,500 units of affordable housing, valued at over $2 billion dollars. And we've impacted the lives of more than 18,000 residents.
My passion is really helping people get access, honestly, to whatever they need. PCC starts with employment. When I meet people or talk to them about PCC, that's the first thing they say to me is, my gosh, I see how passionate you are about this work. I am. And I think because I feel blessed and lucky to have had the access to the education that I have, and the people that I have been able to come in contact with that have helped me in my career. I became passionate about social capital over the last couple of years. I was thinking: how can I help people that look just like me, who grew up in places just like I did get the same kind of access that I had? To me, there's so much power in helping someone get economic and social resources– that will change their life. Because once you can take care of yourself and your family, once you can make money, and move out of an underserved neighborhood and into the middle class, your life changes. People of color, especially, haven't had these opportunities to climb the ladder or really meet the American dream. My passion for social capital and helping communities extends far beyond employment.
I pursued a doctorate in social innovation because as a real estate developer, I would meet people in the community all the time, that I knew were capable of working. And the subcontractors I've worked with that built my projects always had trouble finding people that can hold a job for 10 or 12 or 13 months. And so I designed Project Community Capital, purely to help people get construction opportunities to sort of bridge the gap in the connection between people who are ready to work and the subcontractors and then thought, you know, there's got to be a way I can have a greater impact with my work. I found a doctoral program that focused on creating programs that are scalable and would impact people in a significant way. And because I already operate in a space where I'm trying to help people get employed, and I also have access at my level, I figured I get sort of redesign Project Community Capital to help everyone so not just people that need access to opportunity to construction projects, right, which, which the government essentially wants you to, or encourages you to do this right to hire people in projects where they invest in the neighborhood.
The truth is, I don't really know how it got it out there. I think because of the complex transactions I've worked on, and people have found out through my clients, partners, and financing agencies that I've worked with, that I am exceptional at structuring financial transactions for complicated projects. The Beacon Center which was three separate financings, one integrated building, and the financial structuring was quite complex. And we actually won an award for that transaction for financing from the real estate from Washington Business Journal, real estate deal of the year for financing. And, and I actually structured the financing for the whole project. So yeah, so once you do something like that, and you win awards for it, you know, people it really starts to catch on and people know, know you for that. And so, oddly enough, when I meet people from the for the first time in the industry, people will say things like that, like, Oh, you're Gina. Oh, right. You know how to run those numbers. You structured that crazy deal? And I'm like, Oh, yes, that was me.