HPD is committed to promoting the participation of Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and non-profit organizations in the development and management of affordable housing subsidized under City-sponsored programs. Through the M/WBE Building Opportunity Initiative (Building Opportunity), HPD seeks to address demonstrated disparities in M/WBE participation in affordable housing development, strengthen the affordable housing development industry, and further its mission of providing safe and affordable housing to all New Yorkers.
HPD hosts myriad capacity building opportunities, where industry experts provide free training for M/WBEs. These trainings lay the groundwork for M/WBEs to become firmly rooted in the affordable housing industry by providing essential skills necessary to compete in the marketplace. When possible, HPD facilitates networking opportunities with course participants and various industry experts. Building Opportunity was launched with a focus on developer trainings including the Developer Building Capacity Course. HPD has also broadened the approach to include training for marketing agents.
Increasing Access to Capital
HPD understands that M/WBEs encounter multi-faceted issues when trying to acquire capital that is affordable and comes with favorable terms. This can be especially true for minority-owned firms, for whom historic systemic racism (e.g., redlining) is more likely to have limited their accumulation of wealth. HPD strives to identify programming that reduce those structural problems.
The New York City Acquisition Fund offers flexible bridge loans for vacant sites or occupied buildings, predevelopment, and moderate rehabilitation to developers committed to the creation or preservation of affordable and/or supportive rental housing across the five boroughs. In 2021, HPD advocated for changes in eligibility requirements of the high-value fund. Now, only M/WBE and non-profit developers can access the fund’s favorable terms, which ultimately reduces land acquisition costs and project risks.
Gaining Development Experience
Before Building Opportunity, M/WBE developers with limited experience shared that it was difficult to win the confidence of investors and lenders. Developers wanted opportunities to show that they could manage larger-scale and more complex projects. Developers who are selected for opportunities to develop on City-owned land through HPD’s competitively awarded RFP and RFQ process can show lenders, investors, and partners they are capable of building larger and/or complex projects. These public site deals reap greater economic benefits than private sites because they benefit from low to no acquisition cost.
Through Building Opportunity, HPD creates opportunities to designate public land to M/WBE developers.
The City's equitable ownership requirement strengthens the role of M/WBEs and non-profits on affordable housing projects developed on City-owned sites by requiring that an M/WBE or non-profit partner hold a minimum 25 percent ownership stake in any affordable housing project awarded on public land.
To address the disparity in M/WBE developer participation, HPD championed state legislation that now permits the agency to take additional steps to encourage M/WBEs' participation in the affordable housing development market. The legislation enabled the creation of a competitive M/WBE Developers PQL of M/WBE developers and dedicated pipeline of City-owned sites that was competitively solicited through the M/WBE Building Opportunity RFP.
Strengthening Networks and the M/WBE Ecosystem
HPD leverages investments in affordable housing to ensure that M/WBEs that are a part of the affordable housing ecosystem (e.g., architects, construction contractors, attorneys) can prosper from HPD’s initial investments. These programs deliberately remedy the legacy of discrimination that qualified M/WBE firms may have faced in the past. Simultaneously, these initiatives spur economic development opportunities for firms that are as diverse as the communities we serve.
HPD is committed to promoting the participation of M/WBE and non-profit organizations in the development and management of affordable housing subsidized under City-sponsored programs through the M/WBE Build Up Program. HPD’s Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Program (EOIP) team is available to support the efforts of developers/borrowers and their general contractors to meet the project's M/WBE participation goal.
HPD Build-Out is a networking and contractor seminar series in partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). HPD development partners and general contractors inform potential contractors or professional service providers about upcoming projects. M/WBEs come away with connections and opportunities to work on development projects.
These pillars are designed to reduce the barriers many M/WBEs face. Leveraging billions of dollars of affordable housing financing, HPD and its partners have made it possible for M/WBEs to play larger roles in the affordable housing industry. Building Opportunity helps many M/WBEs propel their businesses – read success stories.
If you want to keep in touch with HPD, please complete the Building Opportunity Interest Form and we will share updates on programs and opportunities.
See our collection of resources, recorded trainings, and helpful links.