PonTell Now Heading Burum’s Affordable Housing Nonprofit

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – National Community Renaissance, the non-profit corporation founded by Jeff Burum to provide affordable housing to low and moderate income homebuyers, has hired Steve PonTell to serve as its president and chief executive officer.
PonTell, founder of the think tank La Jolla Institute,  replaced Orlando Cabrera in early January.
Also known as National CORE, the company had faltered during the recession, and was unable to fully deliver on its commitment to make  affordable housing available to those in need. National Core’s board members struggled through the collapse of the housing market with Cabrera leading the non-profit while many properties being targeted for use in the program were being lost to foreclosures.
Last September, the FBI and IRS served search warrants at National CORE headquarters as part of an effort to obtain documentation relating to the business dealings of its founder, Burum.
PonTell, the founder and president of the La Jolla Institute, has been chosen to succeed Cabrera, who left National Core of his own volition a month ago, and will be a “very different” leader of the nonprofit, board members said.
An Ontario resident for the last quarter century who was very close to Gary Ovitt when he was mayor of Ontario, Pontell has maintained his relationship with Ovitt over the last eight years while Ovitt has been a member of the board of supervisors. Pontell was born in Loma Linda and raised in Big Bear Lake, where he continues to have some business interests. At one point he was the director of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and he also headed the  Inland Empire Economics Council. Over the last two years, Pontell and the La Jolla Institute have completed, at a cost of $240,000, what is referred to as  a community indicators report, otherwise known as a vision project, for  San Bernardino County. That indicators report purports to provide a blueprint for the future of the county.
PonTell has been brought in to head National CORE at a crucial point, where its survival as an entity is being challenged. The nonprofit was previously dependent in some measure on subsidizations from redevelopment agencies and the state of California has now eliminated the charter of municipal redevelopment agencies throughout the state. In Rancho Cucamonga, where National CORE has its headquarters, it has received $46 million in subsidies through the Rancho Cucamonga Redevelopment Agency for the provision of low to moderate income and senior citizen housing.
National CORE, which is a national organization overseeing more than 9,600 affordable housing units in California, Texas, Arkansas and Florida, may end up closing shop in California.
National CORE is now scrambling to devise alternative funding for six projects on the drawing boards in California communities.

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