In 2006, I left my position as the CEO of L.A. Family Housing  to form the national non-profit American Sunrise Communities with third-generation home builder Joel Shine; Mary Alice Cisneros, the founder of American Sunrise; and Henry Cisneros, the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and executive chairman of CityView.
American Sunrise Communities’ mission is to leverage public, private and non-profit resources to facilitate large-scale housing solutions for the millions of low-income and minority families excluded from the traditional housing market. Since its inception, American Sunrise Communities has added offices in Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco and has created partnerships with stakeholders resulting in the potential development of more than 25,000 housing opportunities for a broad range of underserved communities. There are several key learnings from our collaborations I can share with home builders who are seeking an innovative model to reach this underserved market.
Our projects have been successful. One of our latest is a collaboration with a private developer and several non-profits that created Gates on Manhattan, 320 lease-to-own homes in New Orleans. In Northern California, we have partnered to entitle and create more than 600 units of affordable housing. Our partnership with a master builder in Denver will support the development and implementation of a major affordable housing plan.
As a home builder, it will be helpful to understand the pieces of the puzzle in our non-traditional model and further explore key steps to leveraging public, private and non-profit resources for affordable housing solutions.
American Sunrise recommends home builders do the following:
We have learned that local government and builder partners are adamant that substantial subsides and low-cost capital will be necessary to make these projects economically viable. Our development partners have agreed to donate a combination of land and money to each project. Our government partners have agreed to support Sunrise’s efforts to obtain subsidies and low cost capital. By aggregating builder contributions; public and private grants; CRA institutional loans; causal capital; and program-related investments, we believe the American Sunrise Fund, a pool of low-cost resources to help people obtain affordable housing, will catalyze large-scale community-based housing programs and provide a new innovative platform for capable builders and cities to embrace.
Over the next decade, we expect the American Sunrise Fund to:
As you can see, collaboration between governments and businesses can create positive outcomes. We’re looking forward to the positive results.