City Announces New Initiative to Train and Support M/WBE and Non-Profit Marketing Agents for Its Affordable Housing

February 4, 2021

Press Office:

Goldman Sachs awards $100,000 for first phase of Pathways to Opportunity to help M/WBEs and nonprofits become qualified affordable housing marketing agents for the City’s Housing Connect lotteries

NEW YORK, NY –The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Goldman Sachs, LISC NYC, and Enterprise Community Partners announced today new funding and training to build the capacity of marketing agents, furthering the Administration’s commitment to create fair and equitable access to the affordable housing it is creating at record pace. Pathways to Opportunity is a two-phase initiative, with the first phase now fully funded with a $100,000 grant from Goldman Sachs. Phase one aims to increase the supply of Minority-and-Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) and nonprofits qualified to serve as marketing agents by preparing them to apply for HPD’s recently released Qualified Marketing Agent Request for Qualifications (RFQ).

“There is a growing demand for marketing agents as this administration continues to create and preserve affordable housing at a record pace, even in the midst of the pandemic,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Investing in M/WBEs and nonprofits that want to capitalize on this growing industry is the right thing to do - not only to strengthen and build the capacity of our mission-driven partners, but also to ensure equitable access to affordable housing for all New Yorkers.”

“Goldman Sachs is thrilled to support this important work,” said Margaret Anadu, head of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. “The New York City affordable housing industry is crucial both for the housing it provides for families and the significant contribution to our local economy. Given that, it is a critical moment for all of us - public, private, and non-profit partners – to ensure it is as diverse as possible with equal opportunity for M/WBEs to drive us forward and build back better.”

“When M/WBE businesses and nonprofits serve a leading role in the affordable housing sector, we’re all better off for it,” said Valerie White, executive director of LISC NYC. “The individuals behind these businesses and organizations have practical solutions and expertise, often rooted in life experience. That is why it’s so important we create opportunity for them to participate in the sector as qualified marketing agents. We’re proud to partner with HPD on this important initiative to continue to build opportunity for M/WBEs and nonprofits and ensure their voices are central to efforts to enhance the city’s affordable housing sector moving forward.”

"Pathways to Opportunity is a groundbreaking means to ensure that M/WBEs and low-income New Yorkers can take part in the economic opportunity created by the city’s affordable housing production," said Lorraine Collins, Senior Director, Enterprise Community Partners. "Enterprise is proud to help bring this program to fruition and looks forward to working with the City, LISC, and Goldman Sachs to cement affordable housing as a tool for economic mobility.”

While the City finances the development of affordable housing and sets forth the policies and procedures for marketing and determining eligibility for affordable apartments, the developers of that housing must hire marketing agents to conduct the Housing Connect lottery, lease-up, and sales processes for each project. HPD released a Qualified Marketing Agent RFQ in September to develop a qualified list that developers of City-sponsored affordable housing must choose from. Leading up to the initial April 9th RFQ application deadline, Pathways to Opportunity will invite interested M/WBEs and nonprofits with limited experience to attend a virtual panel on What it takes to successfully operate a Marketing Agent Business, where experienced marketing industry experts will share tips on bidding, staffing, technology, client service and other topics. Participants can then apply to receive free training and certification on HPD/HDC Marketing and Housing Connect, Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Compliance, and Fair Housing. A committee made up of representatives from LISC, Enterprise, and HPD will review the applications to select M/WBEs and nonprofits for the initiative. This will support the creation of new M/WBEs and nonprofits to compete for the growing number of housing requiring marketing or allow existing entities to expand their existing business.

Investing in the City’s M/WBE and Non-Profit Partners
Altogether, Pathways to Opportunity seeks to offer training to 40 different M/WBEs and nonprofits to equip them to submit competitive applications to become qualified marketing agents.  Each M/WBE or nonprofit who is accepted into the program will be eligible to send up to three staff members to the training. In the context of COVID-19 and in an economy putting so many vulnerable New Yorkers at risk, creating fair and equitable access to affordable housing is more important than ever. Increasing the capacity of qualified M/WBE and mission-driven nonprofit marketing agents supports equitable access while also building on the City’s efforts to increase investments in M/WBEs and non-profits that share a deep commitment to New York City communities. In November, the City announced an equitable ownership requirement to increase the role of M/WBEs and non-profits on affordable housing developed on City-owned sites, which are now included in all of HPD’s RFPs going forward. And last month, Mayor de Blasio announced that the NYC Acquisition Fund will now exclusively finance housing led by M/WBE and nonprofit developers with a minimum 51 percent ownership stake.

“I applaud this important prequalification initiative which will helps M/WBEs build capacity in the high-demand field of affordable housing,” said Maggie D. Austin, Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs and Senior Advisor. “Diversity does not just happen. We have to design and implement initiatives such as this one to bring about equity and access to opportunity.”

“For tenants and homeowners across the city, tomorrow brings too many unknowns. Racial disparities are especially pronounced in housing, and in Brooklyn we are seeing unprecedented housing insecurity," said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). "Pathways to Opportunity will prepare M/WBEs and nonprofits to become qualified affordable housing marketing agents for the city’s housing lotteries. With more diverse marketing agents, affordable housing will be more accessible to the people that often need it the most. I thank HPD and partners for their hard work on this initiative.”

Phase two of Pathways to Opportunity aims to create affordable housing marketing career pathways for low-wealth New Yorkers, particularly those currently living in affordable housing, through a workforce development program. The program will be geared towards granting access to employment in marketing, affordable housing, and LIHTC compliance. Research and fundraising are underway for phase two, which is anticipated to launch after the first phase one trainings are complete.

M/WBEs and nonprofits interested in the Pathways to Opportunity initiative should visit the Marketing Agent Training webpage learn more and apply by February 19, 2021 for the first round. Additional rounds and application deadlines will also be posted to the website.


The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked advancing the goals of the City’s housing plan – a critical pillar of Your Home NYC, Mayor de Blasio’s comprehensive approach to helping New Yorkers get, afford, and keep housing in these challenging times. For full details visit and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group (UIG) Established in 2001, UIG is a business unit within Goldman Sachs and deploys Goldman Sachs’ capital by making investments and loans that benefit urban communities. Through its comprehensive community development platform, UIG is a catalyst in the revitalization of underserved neighborhoods. Since its inception, UIG has committed over $9.8 billion, facilitating the creation and preservation of over 42,400 housing units - the majority of which are affordable to low, moderate and middle-income families - as well as over 2.8 million square feet of community facility space and over 11.2 million square feet of commercial, retail, and industrial space. UIG’s investments and financings are driven by our commitment to revitalize and rebuild the urban fabric in underserved neighborhoods.

LISC NYC is the flagship New York City office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC NYC supports local partners whose services and programs aim to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable New York City. Since 1980, LISC NYC has invested over $3.1 billion and leveraged an additional $7.6 billion in support of low-income communities. LISC NYC’s investment strategy is guided by a belief that the time has come to forge a future for New York City that eradicates the racial wealth gap for good, protects affordable housing, and builds pathways of meaningful economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Enterprise Community Partners is a national nonprofit on a mission to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging for all. To make that possible, we operate the only organization designed to address America’s affordable housing crisis from every angle: we develop and deploy programs and support community organizations on the ground; we advocate for policy on a nonpartisan basis at every level of government; we invest capital to build and preserve rental homes people can afford; and we own, operate and provide resident services for affordable communities. All so that people not only make rent, they build futures. With this end-to-end approach, 40 years of experience and thousands of local partners, Enterprise has built and preserved 662,000 affordable homes, invested $53 billion in communities and changed millions of lives. Join us at