Making a Difference for Catholic Charities’ Affordable Housing in Brooklyn

“The team’s guidance was tremendously valuable. Their outside perspective and specific strategic and technical insight was very useful.”
Hugh F. Kelly, Ph.D., CRE, Former Chair, POP Board of Directors

Client: Progress of Peoples (POP) Development Corporation, the affordable housing arm of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, New York, provides housing for seniors, families, and formerly homeless adults. POP develops and manages approximately 3,000 units. POP requested CRE Consulting Corps assistance related to their housing portfolio and real estate development activities.

Challenge: To fulfill their mandate of continued expansion of programs with existing resources, POP determined they needed assistance redesigning their housing development office in terms of appropriate staffing complement, skill base and responsibility. In addition, the challenge included assessing the existing portfolio and considering possible projects and finances for the future. Goals included


expanding housing for seniors and families on former parish and church lands; rehabilitating and repositioning family and supportive housing; and increasing and maximizing the capacity of the housing stock. Scope of work also included assessing portfolio zoning capacity.

Assessment: The CRE Consulting Corps team members spent a week within the Brooklyn Diocese, reviewing the portfolio; touring properties; interviewing development staff and members of the POP Board of Directors, officials of Catholic Charities, and the Diocese. Counselors conducted a thorough review of market data and financial records, plus an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to POP goals. The team offered strategies and recommendations, both short and long-term, to improve office structure, strengthen working partnerships, and improve finances.

Recommendations: The team provided recommendations to POP, including methods and guidelines for improving accounting and reporting, a review of the board structure and suggestions for alternatives, and proactive planning for the portfolio in order to capitalize on strategic opportunities in the economic climate and real estate market. The key recommendations were: 1) Reconfigure and reinvigorate POP into a fully integrated and full-service real estate development company. 2) Develop one strong Board of Directors to lead, direct, and oversee the mission and strategic plans of POP Development Corporation. 3) Revive the partnership between the Diocese of Brooklyn and POP Development Corporation. 4) Develop and implement a focused mission statement, strategic plan, and entrepreneurial approach to development. 5) Prudently leverage a specific property’s equity to realize future goals.


Team: The team was led by William McCarthy, CRE, Panel Chair, Burnaby, British Columbia, Jacqueline Buhn, CRE, Philadelphia, PA, Peter Holland, CRE, Hartford, CT, Raymond O’Keefe, Jr., CRE, New York, NY, Martin Tessler, CRE, New York, NY.


Does your community, university, or local nonprofit need help with a real estate challenge? For more information or to refer a project to the CRE Consulting Corps, please contact Samantha DeKoven (312-329-8431;