Community members and business leaders gathered at the January 19 Transform Westside Summit to hear from Quest Community Development Corporation’s President and CEO Leonard L. Adams Jr. Leonard shared insights into Quest’s impactful journey and its commitment to serving vulnerable populations.
The morning opened with connection and community building, where attendees shared resources for the group’s collective efforts to improve the Westside. Melanie Faison, Chief Operating Officer at Quest Communities, led the devotion. John Ahmann, Westside Future Fund President and CEO, moderated the discussion.
Acknowledging the Founders and Leadership
John Ahmann expressed gratitude for Leonard’s significant role in the Westside community. He highlighted his leadership and generosity in fostering a partnership between Westside Future Fund and Quest.
“What I appreciate about Leonard as an entrepreneur is starting Quest to serve those suffering from addiction. Out of addiction, they really need to have stabilized housing.”
John also highlighted Quest’s pivotal role as a supportive housing nonprofit developer. Their dedication to the cause, even during challenging times, has positioned Quest as a leading organization in the city.
New Developments and Initiatives
Leonard presented Quest’s strategic initiative, the Westside Trifecta, involving a $110 million investment over the next three years. This initiative aims to develop 300 units in various housing models, catering to different income levels. Notable projects include Quest Residences at Grove Park, Heritage Village at Westlake, and Simpson West in historic Vine City.
- Quest Residences at Grove Park: A 40-unit development for individuals ages 55 and older with incomes at 30% AMI or lower, costing $14 million.
- Heritage Village at Westlake: A preservation project transforming the historic building into 102 units of permanent supportive housing, costing $42 million.
- Simpson West: A new construction project at 810 Joseph E, Boone, providing 139 units for families, using an income-averaged approach, costing $53 million.
- Quest Legacy: A 12-unit home ownership program in Vine City, costing $2.8 million, aimed at legacy residents.
Capital Campaign for Program Services
Acknowledging the funding challenges, Leonard introduced Quest’s capital campaign focused on program services. He emphasized the need for support in scaling up services, as the demand for housing and support services increases with the addition of 300 units.
“All of that $110 million is for the sticks and bricks. It’s not for any of the care that goes on inside of these units. We need money for services, for programming, for scaling or working capital to scale up.”
Facing the Challenge Together
In a candid conversation, John and Leonard discussed the frustrations and high demand for affordable housing and supportive services. Leonard shared his motivation, citing faith, team dedication and the impact on vulnerable populations. Both leaders emphasized collaboration, acknowledging that despite competing for funds, they share the same goal of making a positive impact on the community.
Quest Podcast Launch – Westside Wednesdays
Leonard concluded by announcing the launch of Quest’s podcast, “Westside Wednesdays,” co-hosted by Ebony Ford. The podcast aims to provide a platform for sharing insights into Quest’s work and the challenges faced in serving vulnerable populations.
The summit concluded with a call to action, urging the community, philanthropists and partners to invest in Quest’s mission to provide not just housing but comprehensive support services for those in need.
Miss the event? Watch the full Transform Westside Summit on YouTube.