California Community Builders (CCB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affordable housing development organization that spun-off of The Greenlining Institute. Our mission is to reduce the homeownership gap as a means of closing the wealth gap for communities of color. Through the promotion of affordable homeownership, we seek to mitigate one of the most egregious root causes of increasing poverty and widening wealth gap experienced by communities of color in California. Across every social measurement, homeownership has proven to be the doorway and pathway out of poverty and into the benefits of the middle class including: improved incomes and wealth creation, improved education, better health, safer neighborhoods, entrepreneurship and a strengthened democracy.
CCB also aims to understand the impediments to policies that support building homeownership and work-force housing opportunities for low-income communities. In 2006, CCB undertook a pilot project in Firebaugh, California, called San Joaquin Villas in the Central Valley, an area that was described as “the Western Appalachia” by The Economist. During the course of this project, our founder John Gamboa and some of his constituents were shocked by how difficult it was to successfully build affordable housing. There were many roadblocks along the way, which spurred our organization into becoming more policy and advocacy focused- we wanted to ensure that creating new housing for those who need it is an exciting opportunity, not a burdensome obligation.
CCB has since formed The Two Hundred, a statewide coalition of community leaders, opinion makers, and minority advocates, to mitigate the growing wealth gap through homeownership and home building in California. Prior to The Two Hundred, there has been no cohesive statewide voice to advocate for low and moderate-income communities of color for homeownership.
The racial wealth gap divide was dramatically increased, following the Great Depression, by the Federal home loan programs and redlining practices that discriminated against people of color. The gap was further widened by the catastrophic economic impact of the Great Recession, when millions of Americans, especially households of color, lost their homes and what little equity they owned.
The Two Hundred also advocates for millennials and Generation Z who are saddled with large student debt, and high rents due to the shortage of housing stock and, particularly, affordable housing.
The Two Hundred leadership brings a unique combination of experience that include: grassroots organizing, intricate knowledge of the levers of power and how to engage them; policy advocacy; proven ability to work with diverse populations; experience with the inner workings of bureaucracy and institutions and the respect that comes with a lifetime commitment to social justice. Our Leadership Council has over twenty members of California’s finest housing champions, including:
- John Gamboa, founder of California Community Builders and former Executive Director of both Greenlining and Latino Issues Forum
- Herman Gallegos, former CEO of several business firms, including the U. S. Human Resources Corporation and Gallegos Institutional Investors Corporation, one of the first Latinos elected to several boards, and founder of The National Council of La Raza
- Denise Pinkston, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board, member of the SPUR Housing Committee, and member of the Technical Committee ABAG/MTC Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA)
- Robert Apodaca, founder of ZeZen Advisors, former Chairman and Trustee of Alameda County Retirement Board, and former Senior Vice President & Partner of Kennedy Associates
- Brian Hanlon, President and CEO of California YIMBY, and California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA)
To join our 900+ member coalition of housing activists, please subscribe to our newsletter. You can also like our Facebook page @TheTwoHundred and follow us on Twitter @the200leaders for the latest housing news, every day of the week.
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