Craig Adelman, Senior Principal, LeSar Development Consultants
Hello! I’m writing in part to introduce myself as a new member of the LeSar team and talk about why I’m here. First, I want to share how excited I am to be on board and working with such a strong group of professionals engaged in exciting and urgent work. I’ve been on board for a few months now and am truly impressed by the LeSar family and have been continually validated regarding my decision to join LeSar Development Consultants.
We are at a unique and singular time when it comes to the challenges of housing and homelessness. Not only in California, but nationally and internationally, these issues have continued to emerge as compelling challenges for us; as neighbors, as citizens, and as humans. After all, what could be more fundamental to our wellbeing – food and shelter, right? My experience has been that it’s become common to look past that essential nature of housing as shelter while we get bogged down in the technical (cost of production, capital financing, planning approvals) or the political (property values, NIMBYism, traffic impacts). But let’s please not forget how home is the foundation of so many other contributors to wellbeing – and how much that means for every one of us.
Most recently prior to joining LeSar I was involved in developing and then running a national initiative called SPARCC. One of the many exciting and compelling things about SPARCC was its reframing of housing and community development across the lenses of climate, health, and racial equity. The point – our work isn’t just about bricks and mortar, units built, jobs created, and the many other highly valid metrics we use to measure our success. In addition to those, we are also fundamentally changing lives while saving the world! Because efficient and sustainable housing is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. Because dynamic and vital neighborhoods are key components of the social determinants of health that actually have a greater effect on health outcomes than our health care system. Because equitable and diverse communities are essential to overcoming the segregation and structural racism that continues to drive unacceptable health, education, and wealth disparities for communities of color. Home is fundamental for us as individuals and as a society.
I’m excited to take this passion along with my diverse experience and apply it through LeSar to our challenges around housing and homelessness writ large, and toward developing specific solutions to meet the needs of our clients. As I’ve shared with several friends and colleagues, one of my exciting realizations in this role is the opportunity to just engage you on what you’re working on and think about how I (and we) can help you better achieve your goals. It’s nice to be in the business of providing solutions to your challenges.
Okay, but for those of you who don’t know me, you might be asking, “who is this guy?” Well, I’ve been in the community development field for over 25 years. I came to this work through my passion for the built environment and an innate sense of how important that is to wellbeing. I went to architecture school and learned that rather than be a designer, there would be better ways for me to influence our communities. I found that affordable housing was an area that would combine my passion for environmental design with social justice, and off I went.
I cut my teeth for 10 years as a project manager and associate housing director for TNDC in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, back at the emergence of the supportive housing movement. I went on to Bank of America where I learned many valuable lessons in how a sophisticated financial institution thinks about risk, capital, relationship management, and golf sponsorships (and I met Jennifer LeSar and Liz Tracey there too)! From there I ran the affordable housing group for AF Evans Development, combining affordable and market rate approaches to housing opportunities. I then became the deputy director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing under Mayor (now Governor) Newsom and had the opportunity to lead the City’s innovative HOPE SF public housing revitalization program. Subsequently I helped AMCAL Multi-Housing expand into the Bay Area, and then spent the last five years at the Low Income Investment Fund developing TOD solutions before creating and launching SPARCC. Phew… now I’m exhausted.
I’m now in a position to weave all of those pieces together to work with our clients to create new approaches and solutions to their challenges. When I’m not doing that, I love spending time with my wife Stacy, enjoying my home city of San Francisco, traveling, cooking, biking, and playing golf. I look forward to working with you, and please don’t hesitate to reach out – I love talking about this work.