7 Dec, 2023

Why Multi-Family Rental is Good For Everyone

with Shawn Duncan, Marvin Nesbitt, & Jim Brooks
Season 3,
  Episode 6
Place Matters
Place Matters
Why Multi-Family Rental is Good For Everyone

It is common to hear people talk about the housing crisis facing our cities. What is less common is to hear people talking about one of the main reasons we are facing this crisis – exclusionary zoning, which creates a level of restriction resulting in low supply despite soaring demand. One crucial way to not only meet the volume of the demand but to address affordable access also is by promoting more multi-family housing (and the zoning changes that would allow for it). This is not without significant controversy, though. There are many fears supported by myths about the impacts of multi-family housing. Joining Shawn to talk about why multi-family rental is actually good for everyone is FCS Senior Director of Community Development, Marvin Nesbitt, and special guest, Jim Brooks, Purpose Built Communities’ VP of Housing and Community Development.

Show notes

Shawn Duncan, Director of The Lupton Center
Dr. Shawn Duncan is the Director of FCS’s Training and Consulting Division, The Lupton Center. Shawn comes to FCS from the nonprofit leadership sector with research and writing focused on pedagogies for social impact. In his previous careers he has focused on multi-sector coalition building for community impact, content and curriculum design, group facilitation, leadership development, and immigration reform advocacy. As the leader of The Lupton Center team, Shawn brings a visionary voice for innovation, a strategic mind for resource development, and the leadership acumen to support and equip the team for success. He loves being a part of a mission-driven team that finds joy in one another while doing such important work.

Marvin Nesbitt, Jr., Senior Director of Community Development at FCS
Marvin Nesbitt, Jr. has committed his entire career to facilitating positive outcomes and success for society’s most vulnerable and the communities in which they reside. Today, he serves as Senior Director of Community Development at Focused Community Strategies (FCS). At FCS, Marvin teams up with a group of talented directors to lead the organization’s Neighborhood Engagement, Affordable Housing, and Economic Vitality efforts. Prior to joining FCS, Marvin has worked as an independent consultant providing his skills in human services and community development to numerous nonprofit, and government agencies in the areas of planning, implementation and evaluation of service delivery systems, community engagement, and the development and writing of HUD Choice Neighborhood Grant People Strategies.

Jim Brooks, Vice President of Housing and Community Development at Purpose Built Communities
As part of his role at Purpose Built Communities, Jim leads work around the organization’s mixed-income housing program and urban planning efforts, critical components of Purpose Built Communities’ transformative model. Jim manages housing and neighborhood development strategies that ensure Purpose Built and its Network Members leverage industry best practices and innovative approaches that change neighborhoods and lives. He is an urban planner and a national expert in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and a variety of federal housing grant programs, including Choice Neighborhoods, HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration, and Section 8, among others. Before coming to Purpose Built, Jim founded the Boulevard Group, an award-winning national firm that specialized in planning and managing urban revitalization projects. He has led planning and development efforts for major projects across the United States, including such diverse cities as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Birmingham and Charlotte, with a development value of over $2 billion. Before founding Boulevard Group, Jim dedicated 18 years to the public sector as a city planner and public official. He is the former Deputy Executive Director for Development for the Atlanta Housing Authority, where he helped lead the team that planned Centennial Place and Villages at East Lake, the mixed-income, mixed-use communities that became national models for urban housing development and affordable housing revitalization. Prior to his tenure with AHA, he was a Senior Planning and Development Officer for the City of Atlanta/Fulton County. He is a graduate of Georgia State University.


  • For more information about the work of the Lupton Center, please visit our website: https://www.luptoncenter.org/
  • For more information about the work of Focused Community Strategies, please visit our website: https://fcsministries.org/
  • Special thanks to our podcast editor, Tim Rhodes, for making this episode possible. If you are interested in working with Tim, you can contact him via email at tim@whistlingblue.com, or through his website, whistlingblue.com. If you have questions, feedback, or wish to contact us, please email Bekah Klein at bekah@fcsministries.org