A new housing preservation firm has been launched by executives at Pennrose, one of the nation’s largest developers of affordable housing.

Dylan Salmons
Dylan Salmons

Contour Housing Partners aims to acquire, stabilize, and preserve existing rental properties, both regulated and unregulated, from losing their affordability. According to company leaders, the firm is “focused on shaping the housing landscape of America through strategic investments in communities of need.”

“Our nation is facing a severe housing affordability crisis compounded by inflation, rising rents, and widespread gentrification,” said Timothy I. Henkel, co-founder and board member at Contour. “As more than 290,000 LIHTC [low-income housing tax credit] units are about to exit the initial compliance period, Contour was founded to help address insufficient supply by preserving affordable housing, keeping low-income families in their homes, and providing long-term stability.”

An affordable housing industry veteran, Henkel is president of Pennrose.

Contour’s founders also include Pennrose’s executive chairman of the board Richard Barnhart, CEO Mark Dambly, and Dylan Salmons, who has been a regional vice president at Pennrose and now becomes president and managing partner of Contour.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennrose has a 50-year history of creating new affordable housing, and that’s an important approach that needs to continue, Salmons told Affordable Housing Finance.

At the same time, there’s a growing need to protect the existing housing stock. Through Contour, the team plans to preserve these older properties, including developments coming to the end of their regulatory agreements. The team will use its experience to reposition the properties to use today’s affordable housing programs and funding sources to remain in the affordable housing inventory and address any issues, says Salmons.

In addition to benefiting residents and communities, Contour’s work comes at a time when many investors are thinking about the social impact of their dollars.

“With a focus on mission-driven capital, Contour also offers investors and institutional funds the opportunity to strategically invest in projects that are focused on the environment, preservation, social issues, and governance excellence,” said the new venture’s leaders.

The leadership team has been working toward launching Contour for a little more than two years, and the firm is working on its first transaction, an acquisition of a property in the Northeast.

In addition to being built with Pennrose’s DNA, Contour will be linked to the longtime affordable housing firm in other ways. Acquired properties will be able to tap into Pennrose’s property management, asset management, and other services, Salmons said.