We offer comprehensive technical assistance services to affordable homeownership and inclusionary housing programs. Over the past several years we have completed over 50 technical assistance engagements with non-profits and jurisdictions across the country. We have built a suite of assessment tools, decision guides, and sample templates that we use to help clients scale their capacity. Our clients represent a diverse group of advocates, practitioners, and policy makers who are also affiliates of national industry leaders such Habitat for Humanity, the National Community Land Trust Network, Housing Partnership Network, and NeighborWorks America.
We offer the following services:
Design Inclusionary Housing Policies
Inclusionary housing is an increasingly popular strategy for creating affordable homes and apartments. However, inclusionary policy can also be highly technical and complex. Policy makers, practitioners and advocates often find it challenging to customize inclusionary housing concepts to the specific affordable housing goals, market conditions, and legal framework in their jurisdiction. Stakeholders also lack the time and expertise to tap into best practices taking place across the country. We bring decades of experience across diverse geographies to help guide inclusionary housing policy design conversations. We also design trainings to help advocates build the capacity to launch and implement successful local inclusionary campaigns.
- Featured Projects
- Guided the Seattle City Council through design considerations to create a new affordable housing linkage fee program. Collected and analyzed data about program’s current strengths and challenges, educated local stakeholders and recommended final modifications to the program. The City’s Land Use Committee unanimously approved the program resolution. City of Seattle, WA.
- Supported the Denver City Council in revising their inclusionary housing ordinance. Drafted policy language to strengthen stewardship and avoid foreclosures. City of Denver, CO.
- Trained a group of 9 local nonprofit advocacy organizations, affiliates of the Partnership for Working Families, engaged in inclusionary housing campaigns. Provided a series of webinar and in-person trainings, as well as on-call individualized technical assistance to support inclusionary housing campaigns in Denver, CO; Seattle, WA; San Jose, CA; and the Twin Cities, MN. Developed a set of tools and resources to help community leaders promote and implement stronger policies. Partnership for Working Families, Washington D.C.
Implement Stronger Programs
Practitioners who operate long-term affordable homeownership programs using common models such as deed-restricted homeownership, community land trust models, and limited-equity cooperatives share similar challenges ensuring that homes are affordable and safe for initial and future buyers. We help programs strengthen a broad range of dimensions including evaluating affordable pricing and resale formulas, developing marketing and selection plans, and refining stewardship policies and procedures.
- Featured Projects
- Conducted conference training and developed educational materials to make the case for long-term affordability, while identifying the pros and cons of various contractual mechanisms and organizational structures being used by Habitat affiliates in New York and around the country that are creating a permanent stock of permanently affordable, resale-restricted, owner-occupied housing. Habitat for Humanity New York State, NY.
- Provided guidance to nonprofit on how to implement post-purchase systems to support homeowners while monitoring and enforcing program compliance; conducted analysis to ensure that program’s target market incorporated area’s demographics. Community Development Corporation of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Build a Sustainable Business Model
While evidence mounts that providing monitoring and oversight for long-term affordable homeownership programs leads to greater success, programs across the country face tight resource constraints with local and federal funding reductions. Cornerstone Partnership works with agencies to conduct business and sustainability planning by evaluating organizational strategies, analyzing financial projections, conducting portfolio modeling, and evaluating new sources of earned income.
- Featured Projects
- Developed and recommended business models to sustain post-purchase stewardship by analyzing homeownership activities, staffing, fee structures, and sustainability models of comparable organizations. Developed report summarizing potential revenue strategies and pros and cons of each report. Long Island Housing Partnership, Hauppauge, NY.
- Facilitated a steering committee comprised of business owners, community leaders, and residents from Japantown neighborhood in San Francisco to develop a business model, assess corporate structure, and determine 5-year operating plan required to establish a community land trust. Japantown Community Land Trust, San Francisco, CA.
- Analyzed and developed recommendations for agency’s strategy and capacity building activities using Cornerstone’s Affordable Pricing, Program and Business Planning, and Sales and Resales decision guides. Drafted a business plan and stewardship plan for implementation. Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative, Atlanta, GA.
Assess Program Design
Many affordable homeownership and inclusionary housing programs operate without knowing how their program compares to the best practices and approaches of other organizations. We’ve developed two comprehensive assessment tools that probe a program’s policies and procedures, legal and regulatory documents, and operational infrastructure. Based on the assessment results, programs receive a detailed report that identifies strengths and areas for improvements and recommendations to align the program with industry best practices. We’ve conducted assessments for over 50 programs across the country.
- Featured Projects
- Assessed stewardship capacity of seven inclusionary housing programs in Virginia and 10 in San Mateo County, California. Aggregated individual assessments to develop an area-wide assessment report outlining strengths, challenges, and opportunities across affordable homeownership programs in the respective regions. Virginia Housing Development Authority; San Mateo County, CA
Measure Impact and Improve Efficiency
As the social sector shifts toward data-driven decision making and outcomes planning, it becomes increasingly important that programs take advantage of systems that help them communicate impact as well as improve operational efficiency. Cornerstone Partnership has developed HomeKeeper, a Salesforce.com app that helps programs track data and better manage their homeownership program. Our consultants work with HomeKeeper users to manage household and portfolio information, develop customized peer benchmarking reports, and generate automated workflow procedures to simplify program administration.
- Featured Projects
- Improved efficiency in program enrollment process by creating an easy to administer online application that automatically populates applicant information into HomeKeeper. Reduced the time spent on data entry and created a more user-friendly applicant experience. Built a system to replicate the process so other organizations can get up and running quickly. Various: Champlain Housing Trust, Burlington Vermont; OPAL Community Land Trust, Orcas Island; Hello Housing, San Francisco, CA
- Simplified the creation of program documents by implementing a one-click merge feature that pushes data from HomeKeeper to homebuyer application and closing documents. Standardized the process by creating base templates and created an easy way for program staff to ensure completeness and make corrections to multiple documents at the same time. The Housing Fund, Nashville, TN City First Enterprises, Washington DC.