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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 119



Week #119

This talk is an expansion of our ‘Access to Equitable & Affordable Housing' series with a focus on Land: the new diversity and inclusion landscape with featured speakers Anthony Kimble (Managing Partner, Kimble Properties) and Ebony Starks (VP Placed Based Initiatives, Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation).

But why focus on realtors and developers? Because realtors are on the front lines of the fair housing initiatives. Diversity and inclusion is gaining momentum across the country for a number of reasons. Cultural competency is important in real estate sales and development. We are excited to hear our speaker’s take on why diversity is a problem in real estate sales and development and what we might be able to do about it.

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!


Quick Links: Notes, Zoom Chat, Community Announcements

 

Dedication to the life of Rinaldi Jacobs, Sr.

Rinaldi’s presence as a giant in our community will be missed but the people and principles he fought decades for will be carried forward in the OneRouge work together. Our thoughts are with his family


Casey Phillips: Mr. Rinaldi Jacobs of course, was gonna be helping lead this conversation today. Of course Rinaldi was going to have, bring powerful words today and but with his passing with his passing this week, it has impacted a lot of us on this call and I'm not going to pretend to be very loquacious right now. I said, I'm kind of in my feelings in the moment, it's really hard being here without him. And I know that many of you feel the same way. So we wanted to start today by giving space for Rinaldi and honoring this human with all the range of emotions nothing's off basis, because as sad as I am to not be seeing Rinaldi on this call right now, You'll see a smile probably come across my face because I've been telling you, man, there are a few people that could make me smile through the heaviness of this work, like Rinaldi Jacobs. Good. And Rinaldi my friends call me Jake. And I refuse not to smile when I think about this man, because his spirit was huge. He had a huge impact, but man, he was just a kind person. Then he genuinely cared about every single person in his. And I really wanted, we wanted to create that space today to get everybody that voice. So this is not gonna be organized for the first few moments. Please just raise your hand if you'd like to speak and in any kind of way, shape or form speak in honor, with respect to our friend, Mr. Rinaldi Jacobs Sr.

Pat LeDuff: Good morning. Yes. Good morning. And I too have to smile, right? Cuz he's always smiling. Rinaldi Jacobs Sr. was a lot like David, you know, a man after God's own heart. He was a man that spent time with God every day. He allowed God to honor his steps and not long ago, he shared a text with one of his friends who then shared it with me the other day. And what we thought of him is just what he thought of himself. He said, my life's mission is simply when I die and go to heaven, take as many people with me as I can. And while I'm here on earth,make many black million, as many black millionaires as I can and support middle class middle class generations after I'm gone. And so, he had already put in place what he wanted to happen while he was on. And after he's gone. So he was always thinking about others doing the best he could to help anybody. He could help people call Rinaldi for any and everything. And he was serious about the work that he did just recently about a month ago. There, there was a robbery at Liberty Bank and they found an old card from Rinaldi and called him in the middle of the And he hasn't been at Liberty Bank for years. So we joked about it. I called him the Scotlandville godfather and said you were gonna be Jake, the bounty hunter. And he checks text back and said you gonna lemme say you come to me on the day of my son's wedding and tell me of a bank robbery at the black bank and expect me to help you. I said, wait, your son's getting married today. He said, That's the line from the black, from Godfather's movie. I was like, he just gives you, so he keeps me so confused. I dunno what he's doing. And I dunno when he's when he's just joking around. But you know, Rinaldi was a man to honor. He was an awesome grandfather. Awesome. You know, friend. Dad, awesome husband. And he loved the grand babies. He loves Scotlandville and and he loves Southern University. And so, he has his hands and everything. A lot of times he's working from his hospital bed just like on Monday when we had that last Zoom call

Pat LeDuff: he has laid so many foundations and for so many people and organizations. And so we must keep his legacy alive. It is time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work because he's left a lot for us to do so, farewell my friend until we meet again. Thank you for that space.

Rev. Anderson: Good morning, Casey. Rinaldi just had that smile. And I think everybody has to start with that, that just thousand megawatt smile. But for me, my strongest and maybe deepest memory and the thing that I just so loved about him is that like a lot of people, his family was also impacted by mass incarceration. And so Rinaldi would often call me or text me and he'd have a question about something, or he'd just want me to have a word of encouragement and the thing I loved about Renaldi and I think everybody did, frankly, is that when you were in a conversation with him, it was all about you. It was never sort of, I'm trying to do 12 different things at the same time. And in this work that I do, oftentimes people want something when it's about them personally, but they're not very empathetic about others and Rinaldi he was, it wasn't just that he wanted life to be better for somebody that he knew it was that with, without almost exception, he believed that things could be. Like that was the thing that I just took from his spirit. He really did believe that one, you have to have a vision or people perish, but secondly, that he did believe in restoration and that people can change and that we don't forget about this. And so when I first got the news, my heart broke because quite frankly, there are so few people in this world that you get to just know that if they're on the phone or if they're texting you, there's going to be joy behind that communication, no matter whatever else you have to work through. And I will miss that so much because he has earned his rest. unfortunately, during this pandemic, I have lost as well as thought to people have lost so many people. And sometimes we have these weeks and this is one of those seasons where it seems like the hits just keep on coming. That people who are just bigger than life are now out of our grasp of being able to hug them. And Rinaldi was one of those people for me, at least that if he told you that he was going to have your back about something, he just knew he was. And so I, I am grateful as I like to say for the giants that I have had a chance to just catch the hum of their garments. I hope that the work and the words and the spirit that reti had will be passed on to a generation that has not met him. And that is one of my true hopes is that I can share with people, the friend that I had and what he meant to my work. Thank you for giving me this space.

Manny Patole: I'll try to keep it short. As a person that, that wasn't a local, I think some of the things that were just said really resonate with me one was his truth. I think what made me really feel part of the local community and what made, what he did to make others feel far the local community was he didn't hold. Like there was no purpose in sugarcoating, anything because of the pain and the struggles that were really going on. And people needed to know that to actually make those changes, whether it was with the youth, whether it was with formerly incarcerated, whether it was with those who were without homes or places to live the ideas, but that he would tell us was, well, tell me was there's no purpose in sugar quoting anything or trying to make it seem like it better than it was because it does not help us move. And I think one of the other turns of phrase that he told me once while we were first meeting and he didn't know me from anyone, right. Was, you know, 20, our kids are 20% of our present, but a hundred percent of our future. And if we are not working towards making. Our city or our community is better for them than we are, we're discounting our future entirely. So, it was a very big shock for me yesterday to hear about it in the middle of a meeting. And as a person, I think many of us feel that way. That seems to always be there for all of us. And to, to all of a sudden hear that, oh, he wasn't gonna be there cuz. Part of my, one of, I think was with junior outreach was okay, I'll call Rinaldi I'll call Pat I'll call Casey I'll call Jan, whatever else, refer to it. And then someone said, oh, well, didn't you hear about Rinaldi? I was like, no, I didn't. So it was very, it was, it's still resonating. So, rested power and did a lot for us. And we hope to continue your work and continue your memory for those who are coming next.

Carter: I'm in San Francisco today, so it's a little early here, but anyway, I just, I wanted to be real brief. And some of the things that he, that resonates with me and the work that he's done with Elena and all the help he's given our team, is he always said we were raised by giants. And I think he didn't realize he was one of those giants. So, and one of the other things he always said, well, we coined this phrase together, cuz we always wanted to be on a team of what we call GSD warrior. And I'll give you the clean version of that is get stuff done, warriors, and you can figure out the rest if you want. But that's that was our mantra. How we always worked together is there was no nonsense. We had a plan. We wanted to get stuff done. We didn't wanna drag our feet on stuff. We were raised by giants. We came from the hood, but we were gonna move forward and do. And we were gonna do good for our community. So we'll miss him greatly. Our team will miss him. And all the prayers and pat will be looking to talk to you some more as well on the, and everybody on this call, if you realize he's brought all of us together. So at some point in time we know each other because of Rinaldi and I think we owe him his legacy to continue all of the projects that you know, we have going. In his honor and do something really big for him. As we look forward to the work that we're doing. So thank you guys, and I will be working with all of you in the future. So don't hesitate to reach out to what we're doing as well, too.

Myra Richardson: I just want to echo all of the sentiments that were previously said, especially what Ms. Pat said. , you know, Rinaldi was one of our board members and he was literally working, doing chamber stuff like literally while he was in the hospital. And I remember calling him maybe two weeks ago and he was like, oh, it's a regular schedule thing. And you know, this was something that was from like COVID related incident that I know he had in January. But even only he wasn't in the hospital in January, he was still working for the chamber. So I think that's what I'm gonna always remember about him besides. You know, him having a string of adjectives to describe you to the person he was trying to introduce you to. He always had a very warm, energetic, and he was very like a visionary, I would think. And he always brought ideas and concepts to the table for people to be able to take and make their own. And I think a lot of times stuff that he did accomplish, he didn't get enough credit for those things. You know, Rinaldi started a lot of the things that helped me when some of these ideas and concepts. So I'm super. Grateful for that and the things that he's done for the chamber. And he was super integral for our event that we're gonna be having at the end of the month. And he's helped pushing position us for so many different resources and opportunities. So we're definitely have prayers to the family and just ready to do the next layer of work for him.

Speaker Notes

Pepper Roussel: So, happy Friday to all of you and thank you for being here. Jake was gonna be one of our speakers today. I am sorry that he is gone too soon. I did not know nearly as well as all of you, but his presence was always impactful and our meetings were always full of great stories and anecdotes. The work that he was doing, that I knew of around development and around uplifting. Blacks people and black communities out of the pits of oppression that we find pockets of oppression that we find in every in every state, across the country seem to have been something that was very near and dear to its heart. Part of the way that we are in these situations where we do have these pockets of oppression is that we don't have cultural competency in realtors. We don't have clarity of understanding of what development means in largely black and brown neighborhoods. And. For a long time and so black people. So with that said, what our conversation today will be about is land as the new diversity conversation.

Wendy Daniels: I found out about this yesterday and I did not wanna do it. And my husband, J. Daniels pushed me to do it. And my friend, Ebony Stark pushed me to do it. And I think that what you all have said today about Rinaldi highlights the importance of why I'm showing up today, because I do believe this is legacy work that we're doing. So bear with me. I'm not gonna fall out. It just takes me about five minutes to settle in. So my name is Wendy Daniels. I am the president and CEO of Beachwood residential. I am a Baton Rouge native. I used to say, you know, I just recently moved back home, but I've actually been here since 2016. So I was gone for about 15 years. Beachwood residential's mission is to enrich the lives of residents and transform communities by developing housing of superior quality. Okay. We're an affordable housing development company. We develop multi-family apartment communities. When I say our mission is to develop high quality housing, that is not just speaking to. The physical structure, right? So certainly that is an extreme importance, but it's also the lived experiences of the families in our communities. And so my career started at Columbia residential under the mentorship of Noel , who was groundbreaking in the affordable housing industry. Noel my favorite quote is you can mix incomes, but you can't mix values. And oftentimes I think people get the two things mixed up. And so they freak out about the idea of mixed income communities, because they think that it's a mixing of values, but most of you on this call do a lot of work in the community and understand that many people share the same value system, right? Access to great healthcare, quality education, quality housing, regardless of their incomes. And so Noel had a commitment to allowing people to live in a space of dignity regardless of what their incomes were. So he hired market rate developer, I mean, market rate architects to design a community's. My first development was a 130 unit senior housing development. It was on a formerly public housing site, a third of the residents that lived there were public housing residents and we had a baby grand piano in the library. I mean, in the lobby when you walk in. So it was a player. I mean, it was just one of the most beautiful communities that you'd ever seen. And it was for, you know, low income, mixed income families. And so I had a, just a true commitment to what that [00:16:00] experience is like for families through working at Columbia residential after Columbia. I went to mercy housing, right? It's a national nonprofit development company and the sisters of mercy were in the community attempting to provide services to families. They were trying to provide financial literacy courses you know, higher education, food literacy conversations. And they were frustrated because they could not reach people. They couldn't access them. So either people weren't interested in what they were just talking about or the services they were offering or they I saw somebody do something I'm like, are y'all telling me y'all can't hear me. okay. So, what they realized was because these people didn't have access to decent housing, safe housing, affordable housing. They weren't interested in talking about financial literacy. They were just trying to find somewhere to live. And so the Sisters of Mercy developed housing as a means to an end, it wasn't because they wanted to be a housing developer. They were trying to reach people. And they understood that if I don't can't house people, if they are concerned about where they're gonna live and stay and sleep, they aren't concerned about some of the other services that people are providing. And so that experience really shaped my commitment to the lived experience of the residents. And so I'm gonna share one more story, cuz I'm probably about to run out of time. So, my mom is in a wheelchair she's disabled. And during COVID I moved her in with me. She lives in a senior housing community right now. So recently I've been working with a nonprofit senior service agency attempted to partner on a senior development deal. And the executive director was voice frustration around their experience with developers and not I guess not being willing to provide some of the things that they knew that their seniors needed. Right? So like, the wand in the shower that you can take down to properly shower yourself, right. A doorbell at the door, because there may be some hearing challenges. And so when [00:18:00] she was describing this, I was like, you know, of course, because my mom lived with me, my home is not accessible. So I remember the challenges that we had when my mom had to move in with me for two months. And so those are things that you don't have to push me to do. Right. I would never develop a senior community and not put those things in because I realized the importance of seniors having access to the things that they need. That's a lived experience. That's not a learned experience. Right. And so what we know is specifically in urban environments, the majority of housing we are developing is for people of color. Okay. There is a cultural lived experience that black developers offer. And that, that can't be learned or taught the name of my company is be mutual residential because my family is from Beachwood, which is in Scotlandville. And that was a mixed income community. Right. Because at the time it was segregated and redlining. And so I remember the experience. [ Being with my grandparents running up and down the street and what that community felt like when you could mix incomes, but you couldn't mix values. And so, to kind of wrap it up, I think part of what I think has been a true commitment, nationally is a commitment to diversity is the inclusion piece I'm still struggling with. So I've been tapped as an emerging Black developer, which is funny because I've been doing this 20 years, but you know, I'm in this emerging Black developer class. And, you know, I think we are in a really good space because there are a lot of resources that are being poured to black developers and a commitment to providing us access. And so what they've done is created a lot of funds where they've moved money from one account to another account and they put a title on it that says, this is for our Black developer, emerging developers, but the access to the money doesn't really change. Right? So the money was always present. It's the ability to access the money. That's been the barrier. And so if you shift the money into a new fund, And you don't really dismantle the access challenges that still doesn't benefit us. So thank you so much.

Anthony Kimble: Hi, how's everyone doing this morning? I'm Anthony Kimble, founder of a development firm, KImble Properties. We do development in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We typically our kind of thing is we say is we do like the work in communities and rebuild communities that accommodate all people. So a to we're looking at Baton Rouge. A lot of our work has been in the south Baton Rouge area off mainly off Government Street. And then in the Scotlandville area mainly led by my partner Teven Wade. So what we're looking to do is we always tell people that it's, for us, it's not about the buildings. It's also about the people and how do we use development to revitalize? Not only the buildings in the community, but the people and also start rebuilding ecosystems. You know, you always get the question of like, Especially when it comes to like urban, you know, neighborhoods that have been disinvested of like, like how do we, what do we do here? And I always tell people, [00:21:00] everyone on this call knows what a thriving neighborhood looks like. Go off Bluebonnet, go off Essen Lane , go into most of the suburban areas in Baton Rouge, where you have a business corridor, you have home ownership, you have, you know, a partner in city, government taking care of streets and infrastructure and stuff. So you have in private investment, you have public investment. And typically what this leads to is a thriving neighborhood. So, you know, I would tell people, we know what a driving neighborhood looks like. And then, you know, looking at these communities, that folks like me and Wendy do work in. A lot of times these neighborhoods were once thriving neighborhoods and we're not talking about a hundred years ago, a hundred, we're talking about 40-50 years ago that these were thriving. Where some of the assets are still there in terms of the building and the people. So how do we rebuild these ecosystems to then now benefit the people and all, you know, always for me, it comes to, as intentionally, as we work about destroying these neighborhoods, we have to be just as intentional about rebuilding these neighborhoods. And when you start looking at that, where did this intentionality, where did this come from? A lot of times it came from government in the sense of policy how that policy impacted business, how that policy impacted redlining and you're left with what we're here today. So with a lot of the work we do it has to be partnerships from the public side, from the private side, with. Real goals and real strategy on how we rebuild these communities, because the reality was we weren't intentional about destroying these communities. We can't neglect that what, you know, that happened until, you know, also typically get to where we were going. We have to know where we came from and understand why these things happen. And that's just with the work we're doing in the south Baton Rouge area. We're just looking to be intentional about what we are rebuilding this community of like, hey, what are the amenities that benefit the community? Having conversations with folks in the community and these things are not easy and these things don't happen. Usually as quick as you want 'em, but they're necessary to take these communities where they deserve to be. And really with the work we're doing, that's where we're just looking. And it's something that we're figuring out every day. We're figuring out who our partners are every day, we're figuring out different things that work every day, we're figuring out, you know, where is the capital most importantly to do this, go ahead. I'm figuring out where our capital is, but, you know, I think, you know, just as like going back just as intentional as these neighborhoods where we're destroying and just as intentional banks were with leaving these communities, we have to be intentional with partnerships with local government banks have to be intentional about being serious about deploying money into these communities. Funds that are looking to support developers like Wendy and myself. They have to be intentional about finding the developers and being able to actually inject that capital versus just having a press release and none of this money ever hits the streets. All of those things is valuable and have to be working together for us to build these, to rebuild these communities and the other great thing with looking at a place like Baton Rouge is when talking about trends. We're typically 10 years behind other municipalities. So we do have other case studies and other cities to look at the, see what worked well and what didn't work well, and I'll finish up with that.

Ebony Starks: I am the vice president of Place based Initiative at the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation. I'm also a licensed real estate agent in the residential space and I've worked in affordable housing development my entire career. So this is such a critical and important conversation and really means a lot to me, personally. We know everybody here as we talk about the drivers of poverty that our built environment has a transformative effect on communities. We know that our zip code. Is as integrated in our long term outcomes as our genetic code. And that's why diversity in this space and being reflective and culturally competent is so critical. But what does that look like? What does that look like today from a data standpoint? Well, a study came out in 2020, it was done by prude network also with the support of Capital One Foundation. And it looked at gender and racial diversity specifically in the commercial real estate space. And this study confirmed what we already know. And that is that the industry is largely homogenous. It's overwhelmingly white and male. Women make up only about a third of the workforce in this space and less than 2% of C level position in these commercial businesses. These who are now the largest landlords in our nation, which is another, that's a whole nother conversation, right? That commercial real estate brokers are now really the largest landlords that we have that only 2% of sea level positions in these agencies are held by black men. So the data really kind of highlights the conversation that we're having here. And when you come out and you look at it in just kind of a wider level, when you look at commercial and residential real estate, as a whole minorities make up less than 30% of real estate professionals in all of those spaces. So that type of data that studies. It was really critical, but there's another piece we're not talking about outside of real estate agents, outside of developers, there are other industry players and their reflection and their diversity matters. For example, appraiser. Many of us heard stories that went viral this summer about black and brown families who received appraisals in their homes. There were mementos photos out that were reflective of the ownership, got appraisals that felt really unsettlingly low removed those items from their homes and got additional appraisals that were significantly. This type of hidden bias truly has so many adverse effects on our population. And one of the most important being wealth creation and economic opportunity, things like asset, you know, access to home purchases, access to development opportunities, and even low appraisals really affects our ability to create, maintain, and pass down generational wealth. So it's really a huge limiter when it comes to economic mobility. This lack of diversity has real adverse effects on the population day to day. And another one that we don't talk about as much, you know, the less represented we are in the real estate space of Black and brown families and other minorities, we have less opportunity to identify and report fair housing violate and this is something that I've seen happen over and over again on the residential real estate side. Something that I experienced personally upon my relocation here. And even though I knew all of the channels, you know, the Real Estate Commission, the Department of Housing, inherit development, how to contact brokers, there still has been no real work done to addressing some of these issues. When we're working in a space where there is less reflection of the communities being served. So there's real and detrimental effects that happen as a result of this lack of representation. You know, all of this really means that minorities are largely left out of the conversation and the inputs in this space, but far more adversely affected by the. And so closing that gap, that's the thing that we're trying to do through the lens of the strategic plan of the Wilson Foundation. When we're looking at, how do we really have a place based focus that reflective of communities reflective of needs the work that Wendy's doing, the work that Anthony's doing, it's closing that gap. How can minorities be a part of the input so that these outcomes are truly representative through, you know, an equity lens? What does that look. I wanted to share a couple of ways that maybe we can close this gap ways that we can, you know, look toward the future because we know this is an issue. I think one of the first things we can look at are recruitment efforts. When we're looking at large brokerages, when we're looking at real estate schools and large university, how do we diversify recruitment and exposure to communities? Project destined I'll drop the information in the chat is doing a really good job of working with schools and communities to close the gap. We also need to increase educational representation. It was 2017 before a woman of color was elected or was chosen to lead a university real estate program 2017. And we can work on diversifying the field, diversifying representation. We can help really engage some of our most underrepresented communities. And lastly, really quickly, I know I'm wanted on time here as Wendy and Anthony said, we have to increase access to capital. We know that money for startup and expansion, whether it's to Black developers, Black tech professionals, Black, small business owners, there is a huge discrepancy when it comes to gaining access to capital loans and equity. How can we as a community start innovative ways to really create developer funds, to support our smaller scale community based developers to make an impact? And I have links to all this information. I'll drop it in the chat.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS

Pepper Roussel: We have seen that there's been investment coming into Black neighborhoods, commercial real estate developers and development. Help me. Is there a program, a way, a path that you see that we can have development by Black people in Black neighborhoods, whether it be an expansion of your program or is it transitioning residential developers into commercial. How can we make it so that we do have a greater representation in these neighborhoods that have already earmarked for some sort of funding?

Wendy Daniels: That's a great question. So I think that there is absolutely an opportunity for that, and I think that it has to happen at a number of different levels. So I develop larger scale. Low income, housing tax credit development. So the financing tool is really tricky. The deals are very expensive, it's a specialized field. But that's, it allows us to develop housing at scale. What I would say is from the community side, I think the community can put pressure on people that are coming into the development or into their community and ask for representation. I think the city can also put forth initiatives where you can get additional funding or some gap financing. If you also commit to having a minority partner on your team in a substantial way [00:32:00] or carving out different avenues and lanes for that. I think the other thing you have to be careful of though, is not setting up people for failure by pushing people that aren't necessarily experienced or able to operate in this space and to be taken advantage of in certain partnerships. And I probably didn't do enough to come to the table with some solutions that I can provide you all. But I think, you know, I would like to give you some thought, but I think that we, as a city have to put pressure on the development community to say these are things that are important to us. And from a policy perspective, those things have to be pushed down.

Anthony Kimble: I mean, but really when it comes to developers, I mean, what Wendy's doing on the affordable housing, low income tax, that's very niche and that's stuff developers have to grow to. Or you learn those things early on by working with that type of developer, the same thing with what I'm doing on historic tax credit side. But as far as the support developers, Black developers needing these communities, Black and brown developers, a lot of that's gonna come from community banks. That's who's gonna be doing these loans for these local developers. And when I was at an advisory meeting for a communal CA RA advisory meeting, literally this week for community bank, it came up with like, how do y'all like, basically judge success or like, what are your goals? And like, the goals really came down to like, I just want to do one more loan than my competitor. And it wasn't said like that, but they're like, Hey, we look at our competitors. And, you know, we based our goal on like what our competitors in this market are doing. As far as literally loaning to Black developers, they look at, you know, what's been loaned to that and they try to match it or beat that. That's only the bare minimum being done Now a bank is looking at a local community bank is looking at success of, I just met beat my competitor who's not in my opinion doing a ton,so how do we figure out how to do more, to push money into these communities? And one, I would say on the developer side is education. Just understanding how these community banks work, understanding, underwriting, understanding these systems, et cetera is huge. Just on that education piece first, but the development community is gonna be supported by those local community banks.

Wendy Daniels: I think that Anthony makes a really good point. So I was LIIF, Low Income Investment Fund as a C D F I, who has a Black developer initiative program. And so they have provided me a substantial line of credit for pre-development activities. And it was not based on balance sheet. It was based on experience. So that's again, where I talk about the access piece. Like they didn't underwrite me like a bank underwrites. You, they basically. We know you, we know who you are, give us a spreadsheet, outline your experience. We know your track record. We'll give you this pre-development line of credit. What I have found is it's an onion. So you think it's like those it crazy houses where you get in one door and then you're like, oh gosh, it's another door. And then you get in that next door. And so that's part of why it's hard for me to say, Hey, this is the answer because I've gone through like three doors and now I'm at a new door, right. Where you still have to have a certain level of capital. And I think Anthony's right. It's different levels to this. And so I'm at a level that makes it almost impossible sometimes to develop housing on my behalf, I've been developing housing on other people's behalf for 20 years, and now I'm like, okay, now I'm, I wanna develop housing for mutual residential directly. And it just becomes challenging. But I do think that local banks and I found some really great local bank partners, but continuing the education process and having them, us as a city commits to breaking down some of those barriers.

Ebony Starks: I was just gonna add I put in the check, so a community development, financial institution, that's a designation that banks credit unions, even nonprofits, that's a certification that they can pursue that [00:36:00] allows them to really leverage. Federal funds along with private funds to create a pool of really great resources for local developers. It's really a game changer that we've seen done really well in communities. Atlanta does it well. And I think it's something that the more we can engage the banking community around how do we not only look at local and private funds, but really let's leverage national and federal resources as well. And I think this certification, making that more acceptable and connecting local banks and funders with that is a great way on a smaller scale to really open up those opportunities for capital on a local scale.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you. And so on the topic of education, there's a question that chat about a real estate training that Kimble does. Is this a true thing?

Anthony Kimble: So, yeah. I teach a course called how to buy the block which is just real estate training, where we work with developers or from around the country who may have had, purchased a couple, a duplex home getting that real estate started. And we look to, basically help them scale to the next level. So kind of a two part program. My partner, Julie garden has a program called the multifamily movement where he teaches, basically people to buy their first duplex fourplex using the FHA model. And then my program, we look at it as grad school where we help developers scale up from there.

Pepper Roussel: So we are also got some questions in the chat about developing sustainable communities. There are questions in the chat about developing sustainable communities. And so what does it look like in Baton Rouge to have sustainable housing developments using solar or flood mitigation can either Ebony or Anthony can y'all speak to, what can that look like in Baton Rouge?

Anthony Kimble: Well, I mean, we talking solar specifically think that's understanding policy and lobbying and understand how we're a state that's dominated by fossil fuel companies. So as far as our buy-in to solar and those funds provided to solar is not as significant as other states where it makes as much sense. So I think, you know, that's some of the things with looking at, so I think there was just an article, release, I don't know all the ramifications around what exactly happened, you know, of a solar farm getting some pushback on being built. In a neighboring town or something like that.

But I think we're looking at solar specifically, and some of these other things just understanding our state, understanding what are money makers in our state and understanding how that impacts policy and lobby not saying it's possible, but those things do make it a little more difficult.

Ebony Starks: I think until we prioritize really the use of kind of solar innovation federally, for example, right now our low income housing tax credit program does not incorporate any green building standards or projects that are financed using that method. But what is happening on the local level, even though there's not a federal qualification, is that developers. And I think specifically of the development, I was part of replacing public housing in Lawrenceville, Georgia. We're realizing that including those green building standards and those materials that it what's happening is it's reducing the burden on resonance. So some developers are working to get those grant certifications, use more responsible and sustainable materials , and really bear the financial brunt of that because there is an upfront expense to that because we know on the end it will be less of a burden to our low income and senior residents from an energy efficiency standpoint. But we've gotta start including those regulations federally, and we've gotta start really weaving those through building standards for us to make that a part of the regular conversation. And, CPEX is doing great work around weatherization and energy efficiency and how we help make existing single family homes, more efficient what resources we can use, but we really have to think about what that looks like, incorporating it and build new construction and new building models.

David Summers: One of the things I wanted to bring also, and this is somewhat solution based, I guess, but is really more about, I think about creating additional exposure and thought process related to real estate development and the lack of diversity. So I think very frequently we talk a lot about housing. I think obviously because that's one of the main things that needs to be addressed related to poverty and everything else that we're fighting against, but in commercial real estate, there are so many asset classes. And in my experience, I've been across retail, I've worked for major shopping center developers. I've worked for student housing developers. I've worked on stadiums on airport developments. I've worked on sort of a variety of different things. And what we find across the spectrum is that as you get away from housing, it gets more and more concentrated specifically to. Cisgendered white men. And I actually did a study when I was in grad school across all publicly traded REITs, which are real estate investment trusts. And then the 200 or so REITs that I studied very similar to what Ebony shared think 98 percent of C-suite, you know, were all white men and the, and what's even more fascinating and somewhat scary in stark was that the two Black women I found at that time, this was 2015 that had a C attached to their names were in HR. And they both worked for public private prison developers. And so that it was just shocking that that was sort of the case. So I think one of the things that Anthony was talking about, how we create sustainable communities is remembering that beyond just the housing, right, that these shopping centers, these offices, whether it's self storage every asset class within commercial real estate has sort of a structure and a hierarchy that by and large is just unbelievably dominated. And not representative, I think oftentimes of the communities and the people who really are impacted by them and think housing in particular one of the areas that I, in my experience and particularly affordable housing is where you find the vast majority of Black and [00:42:00] brown participants on the developer level. As you go into pretty much any other asset class, we are not represented pretty much at all. And so, one other thing I wanted to lift up relevant to that. So Ebony mentioned Project Destiny, which is a really amazing project Cedric Bobo, the CEO. And I actually had a conversation last year, specifically about bringing that project to Southern university. I don't want to get anybody too excited, cuz there's a lot more that needs to happen. I think for that to be the case. But they're doing a really unbelievable job of creating opportunities for students to get involved in commercial real estate at an early age to get great internships, great experience, and to get into the pipeline of eventually becoming leaders in this space. So I just wanted to lay a few of those things out.

Marlee Pittman: I heard a lot about system changes that are needed to be done particularly at city government. And I have so, so much respect for all of the developers that have spoken this morning. And I think and David, you mentioned something really interesting about like, and so did windy, like as you get further and further into this, you find more and more systems of oppression or gatekeeping. And a lot of that is really at the national level. So all I can really tin around with and for those who don't know me, I work for mayor president broom. And so she's charged me with trying to find the system changes and this office and in this city government that can help to empower Black communities and black developers to do the work that we know is needed. I think a big thing that we've really landed on is how we can ensure that our community and you can read. Our Black community owns the land that is in their neighborhoods. I think our current process for clearing titles and auction allows for a lot of speculation and is not a pipeline for development. And then a lack of clear titles obviously just keeps our community stagnant and I can go into an incredible history, right? So, echoing what Anthony said about this was intentional, right? So when we made it extremely difficult for black families to purchase home, but we also did is made it very unlikely that they would sell their homes and that they would then build wealth by selling them. And you could have this great cyclical cycle where they're, so they're holding onto it and they're not seeing prices in their neighborhoods rise. And so anyway, how to clear title, how to bring these lots back and how to raise values for those who are homeowners and create more homeowners is a big priority. So we're looking at some creative ways from other cities and how they're clearing titles. Funneling those into community controlled land banks or trust so that we can actually con you know, we can ensure that the people who are purchasing it are people who are representative of the neighborhoods. The land is in. So stay tuned. Hopefully we have more, but also just from the mayor's office, absolutely. Everything that was said today is is so many levels of systems that I wish that we could change overnight. And I would love to work with all of you guys, you know, to help UN, UNT, you know, unbox and unpack some of this stuff.

Pepper Roussel: Well, you know, that's the whole point of a system that it can't be dismantled overnight that it works even when pieces of it are missing. But I don't see, I know she's here somewhere, but I'm just gonna read a comment that Robert Anderson put in the chat, a very concerned that there's a little acknowledgement of African American tax dollars being used to fund other developments, but almost never cycled multiple times through the most impacted communities. I don't even know if this needs comment, but I will open it to comment for those of you who have already spoken for anyone, Manny, who may put some things in the chat if there's anything that you can share on that topic,

Anthony Kimble: I mean, I can say a lot on that, but I mean, it's, it is our reality. You know, that this is happening. We all pay taxes. The reality that tax dollars from these neighborhoods never return to these neighborhoods. So how do, and I don't have all of the answers there. You know, we look at things like chips, how does, tax insurance financing? How do those things like that benefit? What are the pros and cons of those things of putting things like chips in place. I don't have all the answers there, but it is reality that this money typically doesn't flow back in the neighborhood from health developers to improve infrastructure, to improve drainage and stuff like that. But I think, you know, my earlier comment about being intentional especially from a local government level and having public private partnerships, working together to improve these things that just has to be done, or we're going to continue with where we are.

Ebony Starks: I just have to think about sort of the self-fulfilling prophecy. So when you look at programs that are text funded, that as they relate to housing in terms of development opportunities and I don't know if David is still on the call, but I'm sure he can attest to this. Oftentimes there's a checklist, right? For areas and neighborhoods that are prioritized to receive this type of funding that is spurred by our tax dollars, for example, and this is just really loosely. A neighborhood has to be so close to a bus stop or so far away from a menu. Or have this characteristic or this characteristic that so often our most underserved communities do not have. So it is so hard to then prioritize them for an infusion of these resources, even if they generated that those tax dollars that spur these programs because of the systemic disinvestment in these neighborhoods that therefore cause them to lack these very characteristics we require for focus development. So it really is. How do you get outside of that? I think I didn't talk that much about tax dollars because I recognize that self-fulfilling process and really how do we shift our energy to innovative ways to make progress now, as we work to tackle these larger issues. And I know Anthony, you know, I think of Buy the Block and one thing we haven't talked about is [00:48:00] how nationally. Minorities under resourced communities, Black communities have been cooling what funds they have and have access to on an individual level to start this work and to buy their community independently of these programs, because we understand these barriers. And so I think we actually acknowledge that and respect that and talk about that. But it is a self fulfilling prophecy in many ways. When you talk about how these funds are generated and how we talk about and where we prioritize spending them there's a disconnect. And whether that is the symptom, whether that's intentional, there's a lot to be said about that, but it is something to recognize.

Rev. Anderson: I just wanted to kind of expand on what I had said, because one of the challenges that I make is that. All of the options. So many times are done at some very fundamental levels. So for instance, zoning is where lots of people get locked out of the system or get invited into the system. And I have sat through, I don't even know how many Metro council meetings where some small business on one side of town that if they maybe produce two jobs will suddenly benefit from tax abatement policies at the local level. At either the municipal or the state level. And yet the, one of the tools that government runs is that they can decide where they buy billings, where they place operations. And so oftentimes we behave as if all of this is primarily driven by the private sector, but in fact, those tax dollars are just that they're tax dollars. And so the sheer of lack of accountability and transparency over who gets what benefits and why when federal state and tax dollars are sent somewhere where they were not primarily intended, that we haven't developed systems locally to identify where the policy itself is the reason we can't generate certain things. And I'm specifically talking now about cancer allergy. That the government did that. That was not some thing in, in the ethos. And I think one of the things that I struggled with oftentimes is when people sort of go to three things, one is that they don't remind people that voting match, but it's also about accountability and transparency. If you don't know what monies your government is working with, you don't know what policies your government is using. And tax abatements and tax giveaways are in fact assets. And there are assets on people's books. And so when you get an entity, say like Amazon, and there's no accountability and transparency on what that acquisition costs, certain communities, some communities may have made bank on it, but other communities literally may have carried the tax benefits on their back because there are things in their community they're not getting. So I, I do want to push that whole ideal that these are our communal dollars and this is where low and no wealth communities can have power, but they can't have power if there's no accountability and no transparency about some of these things.

Casey Phillips: And systematic changes in your own way. Just as a quick state of the union, right. It's August, 2020. Old south Baton Rouge. As much as you can talk about Ebony, everything that you all are helping orchestrate. Or just your viewpoint coming in from, at a different city. And what you are seeing on the ground right now, so that everybody kind of knows what the board momentum is. And if there are barriers and you feel that's, it's reason to bring it up, that hasn't been said today, please do. But also like the wins, right? There's a lot of wins on the board that are happening right now.

Anthony Kimble: Yeah, definitely. We're seeing a neighborhood when we mainly work in south Baton Rouge park Boulevard to the interstate to government street. That's kind of just the area that we work in. And we are seeing a ton of changes. Road diet, that made the neighborhood more walkable. I know everyone doesn't agree with it, but it does make, you add bike lanes. So, I commend government on that investment into the community that you don't typically see a neighborhood, so that's a win. You're seeing a lot of traction and movement on government street. The kind of big, what if with looking at Government Street is now talking about this train and the train station and how does that impact the community? I'll say with looking at the community that we are working in, you're seeing winds and you're seeing the neighborhood move part. You have a territory that could, that gives more accessibility to the neighborhood. You know, our biggest thing now is does this become gentrification, which has a stigma around it, but when you look at the core gentrification, that was the uplifting of the neighborhood. What we don't want to happen is colon. Bunch of people come in the neighborhood, they now own everything. And only all that's left for the people in the neighborhood are low [00:53:00] level jobs. That's what we are really working against now, but definitely seeing a, to of movement. We have upcoming project working with the city on our hotel Lincoln project to get the funding that we needed for the gap for that. Which would be a catalyst project for the area for us. So things that happen, I think one of the things that we have to figure out now and there's a bunch of things to figure out, you have to be creative. And I think one thing I look at right now is we're looking at south Rouge, the black church was the center of the community. We, I think we have like 40 or 50 churches. Throughout south Baton Rouge how, and these churches have access because things were donated to 'em over the years, they have property that they own. They have we have a ton of churches, like I said, so how do we use something that historically has to been the center of the black community to now continue bringing people together for the benefit of the black community. And how do we do something with the assets, this, these churches own to have these things [00:54:00] truly benefit the community. So those are the wins and those are the things that I'm trying to figure out as far as building continue building partnerships to move this community follow. Awesome.

Ebony Starks: I think I'll respond to sort of your first question about our place based focus. So, I wanna make space to acknowledge that I move to the community and I really wanna respect the feedback from those who have been rooted and invested here for so long. So I just wanna kind of frame that been here about five months and I'm learning so much and so happy to be a part and have been welcomed really warmly. But the Wilson foundation is part of the implementation of its strategic plan is undertaking a place based focus with the focus on north Baton Rouge and as a part of that over the last five months, even before I joined, there's been a really intentional process to look at the neighborhoods in north Baton Rouge, look at the needs, the strengths, the opportunities, and really determined where this purpose built communities model would be best implemented. As we walked through this process, looked at [00:55:00] the data, talked to community stakeholders. We have really focused in on two areas primarily, which are the neighborhoods around capital high. So, you know, the park Fairfield, Easy Town, Bogan Walk, as well as what has been branded as our Ardendale or Melrose East, that area as well. And I will say, I have been really encouraged. Part of this process has been trying to get an inventory of what investments are happening in and around these neighborhoods. It has been my experience that work has been really siloed. And so because of that, so often these communities can just feel the effects of something after it's happened rather than being participants in the process. And being able to take part in, in that development and the prosperity and equity and opportunity and investment that it brings. And so I have been encouraged by the efforts of community organizations, whether they're well known, or, smaller grassroots organizations and the focus that's happening to really try to figure out how can we lift up these communities [00:56:00] in a way that includes them. It doesn't happen to them. And that's something that I've really been inspired by. So I'm excited for what's to come. I'm excited for us to get further into the process and to be able to share with you all what this looks like for us over the next five years, what this looks like for the community and the residents there

Zoom Chat

08:26:18 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

Good morning all

08:27:21 From One Rouge to Everyone:

Good morning!

08:31:50 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone:

Sincere peace to his family and friends!

08:31:57 From One Rouge to Everyone:

💔

08:49:10 From Kim Mosby to Everyone:

Sending love Wendy! You got this!

08:49:18 From rodneyna to Everyone:

Sending support Wendy!

08:50:45 From One Rouge to Everyone:

“You can mix incomes, but you can't mix values”

08:55:29 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

DEI is only as good if people feel like they belong

08:55:52 From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone:

Amen!

08:56:08 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

Wendy you are awesome!

08:56:12 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

I could have listened to Wendy talk all day!

08:56:26 From Sherreta to Everyone:

I love that! Thank you Wendy!

08:56:27 From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone:

List your contact info

08:56:38 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Thank you and great job, Wendy!

08:56:53 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone:

So sorry I have to go early today. Sending my deepest condolences to all who loved Mr. Rinaldi.

08:57:01 From Jan Ross - Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Great presentation Wendy. Thanks for sharing your story.

08:58:13 From Wendy Daniels to Everyone:

Thanks for having me. Wendy Daniels, wgreen@beechwoodres.com, (225) 933-9688

08:59:06 From One Rouge to Everyone:

“Have to be just as intentional about rebuilding these neighborhoods”

08:59:41 From One Rouge to Everyone:

@wendy, if you are watching the chat, can you put a littile info here about access to funds?

08:59:51 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Absolutely agree with the intentionality.

09:01:38 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Where is work in Baton Rouge on self sustainable housing developments? Using solar, next generation flood mitigation, etc.?

09:02:27 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

Does this look like a special USDA loan like Rural Development is?

09:02:52 From Luke St. John McKnight to Everyone:

Thank you for sharing, Anthony

09:03:12 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

From what I understand about USDA loans, the Rural Development loans don't apply to our area because it's too population dense. I have been meaning to investigate more

09:03:20 From Sherreta to Everyone:

Thanks Anthony!

09:03:40 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

Has anyone looked in to the Main Street America program for Scotlandville?

09:03:46 From Charlotta Carter to Everyone:

I agree - we need productive employment to sustain these communities - additionally we have to be honest about some of these areas are in what is called "cancer alley” with the chemical plants in the communities - this is some of the reasons so many folks have moved out - how do we deal with this ?

09:04:07 From Flitcher R. Bell to Everyone:

THANK YOU both Wendy and Anthony for your efforts and work to keep the disenfranchised communities healthy and updated!!

09:04:23 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

I have been wondering where is the accountability regarding public dollars (all public dollars) including tax abatement policies and the actual creation of affordable housing in the parish?

09:04:57 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

@Alexis I was just thinking about how to get this ball rolling, and Rural Development is an example of special loans that have a certain intention

09:07:22 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

When people discuss mixed use housing I am shocked how little public service facilities are not used as anchoring units (such as a Social Security office being co-located as part of low income development)?

09:07:50 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

Definitely! There's also Brownsfield Funds that could be incredibly helpful in developing brownsfield properties

09:08:13 From Helena Williams to Everyone:

My husband (a loan processor) is telling me there is a Bond special loan through Louisiana Housing Corp for low-income

09:08:24 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

Anthony can you speak on your real estate training program?

09:08:34 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

anyone from TruFund here?

09:08:44 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:

I know the infrastructure act has poured a lot of money into brownsfield development

09:08:48 From Sherreta to Everyone:

Awesome info Ebony! Thank you!

09:09:13 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:

Powerful words Ebony, thank you

09:09:14 From David Summers to Everyone:

Great stuff Ebony!

09:09:39 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

https://projectdestined.com/

09:09:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

TruFund’s Entrepreneurial Training starting August 31, 2022, Every Wednesdays

August 31st to September 28th

5:30-7:30PM(CST)

09:09:55 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

https://www.reec.org/

09:10:09 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

We continue to separate life skills from the formal education process. Every child needs to have homebuyers education as part of the curriculum.

09:10:14 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvdOiqpjgvGtNdYRq5IHUhqEOMRRqGydPQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

09:10:18 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

https://crewnetwork.org/about/resources/industry-research/gender-and-diversity-in-commercial-real-estate-202

09:10:29 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Veronica Reyes is the Louisiana representative, and we will work collaboratively with you and your business. My email is vreyes@trufund.org and 504-475-2746

09:10:43 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

if you know any other small business owners interested in the program, please share the registration link: https://lnkd.in/dJ-h5qRm

09:11:23 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

(Sorry, it is info from TruFund for their Entrepreneurial series and is a collaborative partner for the Advancing Cities grant with Build Baton Rouge)

09:12:18 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

local banks pursuing CDFI accreditation is critical

09:13:52 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

PLease spell out acronyms for the uneducated ;-)

09:14:00 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

I'm very concerned that there's little acknowledgement of African American tax dollars being used to fund other developments but almost never cycled multiple times through the most impacted communities.

09:14:09 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

CDFI - Community Development Financial Institution

09:14:11 From Jan Ross - Wilson Foundation to Everyone:

Ebony thanks for sharing your knowledge from years in your career. You're an asset to our community already!

09:14:44 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a federally funded flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of housing and community development needs.