September/October 2017 Newsletter

From the CEO

National CORE Thanks Our First Responders

Steve PonTell, President and CEO
National Community Renaissance

At National CORE and Hope through Housing, we can’t express enough our appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of our First Responders. While our properties in Texas and Florida were spared serious damage from the recent hurricanes, we marveled once again at the firefighters, police and other emergency personnel who risked their lives to save others. Perhaps it’s fitting that so much of this is happening during this month of 9/11, when America steps back to honor those who serve and protect us. In truth, their spirit resonates throughout the year, and we’re proud to salute these incredible men and women for their service. Recently, residents and staff at our Downey View Apartments in Downey, CA, took it upon themselves to prepare a home-cooked feast for police and firefighters in that community. It was a small gesture of appreciation, but one that came from the heart. Thank you, First Responders. America sleeps well because of you.

62 New Homes Unveiled at Grand Opening of Olive Meadow in San Bernardino!

More than 100 elected officials, community leaders, and residents joined National CORE and the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino in celebrating the Grand Opening of Olive Meadow on September 28th. Olive Meadow provides 62 beautiful apartment homes for residents of the former Waterman Gardens public housing development and represents a critical early stage in the revitalization of the larger Arrowhead Grove Neighborhood. This robust public-private partnership is helping to transform one of America’s most challenged cities. In all, Arrowhead Grove will include 400-plus new housing units, community centers, an enhanced focus on education and healthy living, and supportive services to end the cycle of poverty. The September 28th Grand Opening of Olive Meadow follows last year’s unveiling of Valencia Vista on land adjacent to the former Waterman Gardens site. The 75-unit apartment community recently was honored with a National Award of Excellence from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of our partners: The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino, the City of San Bernardino, the San Bernardino City Unified School District and the Clancy Company. Additional partners include the Ahmanson Foundation, California State University-San Bernardino, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Housing Partners I Inc., Loma Linda University Health, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Wells Fargo Bank. Arrowhead Grove truly is a great example of the power of collective impact and how a well-planned, well-designed and well-managed housing community can be a catalyst for positive change for an entire city. For a look at how Arrowhead Grove and Olive Meadow are making a difference in the lives of our residents, see Shevon Johnson’s story below.

A Life Transformed: “This is a Stepping Stone for Greatness”

Shevon Johnson is determined to become a homeowner – to fulfill the American Dream that once seemed so far out of reach for the married mother of three who has spent much of her life in subsidized housing. Her new apartment home at Olive Meadow – part of the Arrowhead Grove Neighborhood Revitalization effort (see above) – puts her one step closer. “It’s not just the roof over our heads. It’s everything else (Arrowhead Grove) has to offer. Access to computers and financial training. They want you to actually be a homeowner, to keep a job, to manage your credit,” Shevon says. “This is a stepping stone for greatness and a better life.” Shevon had been living in the former Waterman Gardens apartments since 2011 and was among the first eligible to move into Olive Meadow as part of revitalization of the 74-year-old public housing development. “You walk through here and it’s an entirely different feeling,” Johnson says of the new apartments. “I feel safe. I feel secure. I’m very happy.” She hopes the Arrowhead Grove revitalization will begin to change the stereotypes of affordable housing and the residents who live there. “Not everyone in low-income housing is on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or welfare,” Johnson says. “People here go to work. My husband and I are building our credit so that we can purchase our first home.” Their new environment also provides valuable life lessons for her children. “I’m trying to teach them to become independent,” Johnson says. “They’re learning that if you want a better life, you have to work for it. It’s important that you teach them the right way of life.”

Affordable Housing: A Global Crisis

We tend to think of housing affordability as a problem confined to the communities we serve. In fact, it is a crisis of global proportion – highlighted in this piece from one of the wealthiest nations in the world. According to a separate report from the McKinsey Global Institute, one-third of urban dwellers – 1.6 billion people – could struggle to secure decent housing by 2025. The solutions – abroad or here in the U.S. – are complex and seemingly overwhelming. But there is hope, in the form of public-private partnerships and great private-sector involvement in public and affordable housing. The latter is an approach we’ve had success with at National CORE, leveraging state and federal funds with other sources of private financing. Removing other barriers to affordable housing development – many of them at the local level – can make a significant impact as well. We look forward to discussing these and other solutions at the Southern California Association of Governments’ Eighth Annual California Economic Summit: The Cost of Not Housing, November 9th in downtown Los Angeles. As he has in past SCAG conferences, our CEO, Steve PonTell, will once again help lead this important regional discussion. We encourage you to take part, by registering for the conference or simply by making your voice heard. Whether it’s here or across the globe, “we run the risk of creating a housing market that’s inaccessible to the next generation of aspiring home owners.” For more on affordable housing finance, check out our latest podcast, featuring Michael Novogradac from Novogradac & Company.

National CORE Named IREM REME Finalist for Energy Sustainability

National CORE is a 2017 REME Award Finalist for energy sustainability. The winners will be announced at the Inaugural Gala Dinner on October 13th as part of the Institute of Real Estate Management’s Global Summit in Chicago, IL. Congratulations to our energy sustainability team of Frank Taiese, Elizabeth Villela and our former energy sustainability coordinator, Robert Noeth, on this prestigious nomination. Take a moment to watch the video our team created about the Doing Our Part Campaign.

Save the Date

National CORE’s 25th Anniversary Gala is on November 2nd!

Please join us for our 25th Anniversary Gala, in support of the Hope through Housing Foundation, on Thursday, November 2, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. For information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ruby Foster at For more information on the event, please contact Christy Schroeder at or visit

Affordable Housing in the News

“California politicians are not serious about addressing affordable housing: Joel Kotkin”
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

“Affordable housing crisis: Can Sacramento get it under control?”
The Mercury News

“City of Atlanta Seeks Proposals for Innovative Affordable Housing Design”
Atlanta DailyWorld

“Finding Hope through Housing for neighbors” by Gregory Bradbard
Foothills Reader

News and Notes

Around National CORE, in Words & Pictures

Residents of the Heritage Pointe Senior Apartments in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, celebrated the Labor Day Weekend with a colorful Luau Night.





Residents from Dumosa Senior Village in Yucca Valley, CA joined others from across the country in hiding painted rocks to offer hope and inspiration to others.





Children received backpacks and hotdogs at the Hawthorne Terrace Apartments in Hawthorne, CA. Special thanks to our partners from Wells Fargo and the Social Justice Learning Institute.





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