Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of our partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities.
ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight shines a light on partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents and beyond through our real estate investments and community assets.
Congratulations to our September 2020 Partner Spotlight of the Month: Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NDC) & Jonathan Cappelli
The Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NDC) is a coalition of 16 Metro-Denver nonprofits that build homes for middle- and low-income residents and who seek to strengthen neighborhoods with community-oriented businesses and innovative human services. In addition, NDC works to educate metro-area stakeholders and municipalities about the importance of affordable housing and decrease the percentage of metro-area residents who are housing-cost burdened by facilitating strategic collaboration between members.
Launched in 2009, NDC initially worked to coordinate the efforts of metro-area nonprofits in the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a Congressionally funded initiative aimed at mitigating the effects of foreclosures in areas of greatest need.
NDC was a big advocate for Denver creating an affordable housing plan in 2013 and a dedicated affordable housing fund in 2015, by demonstrating the increasing need for additional housing resources as Federal funding lagged. Collectively, the collaborative has an impressive resume, having created 7,000 affordable multifamily and single-family homes; helped 3,492 families with foreclosure prevention, housing rehabilitation, and down-payment assistance loans; and provided home-buyer assistance counseling to over 35,776 households over the last nine years.
Recently, the NDC collaborative members, including ULC, strongly advocated for much needed housing-related resources in response to COVID-19. When the Colorado General Assembly received $70M in COVID relief funds, NDC and others successfully advocated for a $20M of those funds to go to mortgage assistance, rental assistance, and eviction legal defense.
“Before NDC, collaboration within the affordable housing community was limited,” said Jonathan Cappelli, NDC’s Executive Director. “Organizations were in their own lanes of advocacy depending on where they were on the housing spectrum. NDC has become a powerful and unifying voice for the affordable housing community in Denver.”
Jonathan Cappelli is a true champion for affordable housing in the Denver metro area. An experienced urban planning, real estate, and community development professional, Cappelli is focused on finding ways to bring equitable and sustainable development to communities across Colorado. Raised in Colorado, he has witnessed the changing landscape of the state’s ‘housing market firsthand. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political and Environmental Science from St. Olaf College and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, Cappelli worked in the Clear Creek County Planning Department, researched sustainable agriculture at the international development firm ACDI/VOCA, and he coordinated logistics for the Aspen Institute’s public programs.
Cappelli also worked at Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) as a real estate associate focused on acquisitions of community asset buildings in the Westwood and Globeville neighborhoods before becoming a policy associate and community outreach specialist. While at ULC, Cappelli began partnering more closely with the Neighborhood Development Collaborative (NDC) and Practitioners Leveraging Assets for Community Enhancement (PLACE). After working with a variety of partners in the affordable housing world, Cappelli realized that there was a broader spectrum of needs that he could help address outside of the work he was doing at ULC.
“It became clear to me that we couldn’t rely on federal resources for housing,” said Cappelli. “There was a huge need for homeownership, supportive housing, low-income housing, and workforce housing opportunities in local communities, and the federal funds were not matching up. My work at ULC became increasingly focused on policy, and it eventually made sense for me to become a consultant to focus solely on this work.”
He started Cappelli Consulting in 2015 and has since partnered with cities, counties, and foundations across Colorado to create affordable housing plans, revise planning codes for land use, track and combat involuntary displacement in gentrifying communities, and strategize ways to incentivize affordable housing development. While operating his consulting firm, Cappelli continued to work extensively with NDC, and in 2016 NDC offered him the position of Executive Director.
Looking forward, NDC is focused on the following issues: 1) improving housing stability for vulnerable households during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2) ensuring that we continue to build new affordable housing during this time so we don’t lose the ground gained over the last five years in housing production, 3) fighting involuntary displacement through coordinated housing assistance and development strategies among NDC members, and 4) highlighting the intersectionality between race and housing inequities, and fighting to ensure that housing/economic justice is a part of racial justice efforts and criminal justice reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and many others.