Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental right and essential to one’s well-being. Yet, for many individuals and families, finding quality and affordable housing remains a challenge. While thousands of affordable units are built and resources are allocated at the local and state levels, there’s a pressing need for innovative solutions to tackle the severe housing shortage. Dana Trujillo, founder of Excelerate Housing Group, is doing just that.

A Southern California native, Dana sought a career with profound social impact. She found her calling in the real estate industry, which allows her to address housing challenges on a larger scale. With this in mind, she founded Excelerate, a Long Beach-based real estate development firm specializing in accelerating housing production across the US.

Excelerate’s mission is transformative. They aim to uplift neighborhoods that are in need of housing for low-income families, seniors, moderate income households, and people experiencing homelessness. They partner with local nonprofits who provide high-quality services to people in their communities but are in need of real estate development expertise and capacity building. Excelerate manages all aspects of community and housing development, from site identification and funding to building local partnerships, securing commercial tenants, and handing over keys to residents.

Like many startups, Excelerate has faced several barriers. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Dana has had to build her network and forge her path. Strategic partnerships have been instrumental in surmounting obstacles, including securing investors and solidifying Dana’s profile as a leader in the industry.

Financing, in particular, has posed another significant challenge. Project payments are often delayed until project completion, making covering operational costs a challenge. This is one of the reasons Dana reached out to The Center, who facilitated access to capital through our preferred lender, Lendistry.

“Without being able to show monthly receivables, it’s difficult for a bank to underwrite a new business. Traditional banks and CDFIs lend capital for a project, not operations,” explained Dana. “The Center connected us to Lendistry, who understood our needs and offered exactly what we needed for our business needs.” The capital Dana received through Lendistry will help her to sustain the business and be able to produce more projects, which will ultimately allow them to add additional staff members.

The Center is committed to closing the racial wealth, access, and opportunity gap, and expanding access to affordable housing is a cornerstone of this work.

The Center will be expanding its offerings to the affordable housing industry, including:

  • Providing BIPOC and woman-led affordable housing developers with working capital for the operations of their companies
  • Providing diverse affordable housing developers with acquisition and pre-development financing
  • Strengthening the pipeline of diverse suppliers that can support affordable housing development
  • Leading innovative housing policy and solutions

October is Women’s Small Business Month, a time to celebrate and support women-led enterprises like Excelerate. Excelerate is breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry and creating better health and life outcomes for communities most in need. The Center proudly supports women- and diverse-led businesses year-round and helps them reach their dreams.

October 24, 2023
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