Pembrook Adds Maya Wiley to Focus on Affordable Housing Inequalities

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Pembrook Capital Management has tapped civil rights attorney and activist Maya Wiley as a senior adviser to tackle racial and economic inequalities through its affordable housing lending business, the company announced Monday.

“I am excited to join seasoned and committed advisers and the Pembrook family to advance social justice and racial equity in the affordable housing business,” Wiley said in a statement.  “There is more we can accomplish with committed companies willing to find ways to leverage their capital for fairer and more just outcomes.” 

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Stuart Boesky, CEO of Pembrook, said Wiley’s extensive background advocating for social justice causes made her ideal for this role, which will involve trying to increase capital allocated for minority affordable housing developers. Wiley previously served as a counsel to former-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio before running her own mayoral campaign last year.

“She is very, very connected with government, and also understands [how to approach] affordable housing outreach,” Boesky told Commercial Observer. “I think she is going to be a really wonderful addition to what we do.” 

Before joining the de Blasio administration, Wiley founded the Center for Social Inclusion, a national policy strategy organization focused on dismantling structural racialization in the areas of environment, broadband, food systems, urban resilience, education and communications. In 2016, she joined the New School for Social Research as a professor of urban policy and management, as well as a senior vice president of social justice.

Earlier in her career, Wiley worked in several nonprofits that advocate for social change including the NAACP and Open Society Institute. She has also held roles as a federal judicial clerk and a prosecutor.   

Wiley’s appointment follows Pembrook adding two other senior advisers to its affordable housing lending business last summer: David Baker Lewis, a Detroit-based attorney who co-founded one of the nation’s leading municipal finance practices at Lewis & Munday, and Ghebre Selassie, co-founder of The NHP Foundation

Boesky noted that Wiley’s hiring is part of Pembrook’s broader effort to try and continually assess and improve its social impact, which has taken on a bigger focus since racial inequalities came into focus after the police killing of George Floyd in June 2020.

Since it’s inception in 2007, Pembrook’s investments in affordable and workforce housing have totaled approximately $755 million as part of a total capitalization of $1.8 billion worth of transactions resulting in 12,000 units with more than 70 percent located in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to make what we do more impactful for the real estate industry for tenants and the community surrounding the property,” Boesky said. “We thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get together very experienced professionals in the area of affordable housing, law and civil rights and people who are used to working with governments and try to fashion what we already do in a way that helps economic racial inequality issues.” 

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com