The Housing Tools Mission
Provide services that are efficient, timely, practical and responsive to clients’ needs.
Why Choose Housing Tools?
- Hands-on, individualized service — direct contact with a consultant that is knowledgeable, flexible and responsive to clients’ needs. No dealing with multiple staff. Who you see is who you get.
- A single point of contact means low overhead and cost efficiency.
- Practical experience using proven methods that produce results. I know the nuts and bolts, and how to build from the ground up.
About James Robert Coles
I am the sole proprietor of Housing Tools. I have 17 years of experience producing affordable housing in California as a developer and a municipal administrator. I have participated in the development of 30 different housing projects and more than 1,000 units, including mixed-use, transit-oriented, home ownership and special needs. Most of these developments have been urban infill projects that incorporate energy efficient and environmentally sustainable design. Within the public sector, I have also been intimately involved in developing policy and managing programs, including the production of housing elements, HUD plans, specific housing plans, environmental assessments and compliance monitoring. I am a Certified HOME Program Specialist. My resume and letters of recommendation can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
My passion for affordable housing began when I was a college student at the University of Utah, where I volunteered at the local homeless shelter and was introduced to this issue in a very real and personal way. I decided to use my degree in Urban Planning to address this problem. In earning a Masters Degree in Urban Planning at the University of Illinois-Chicago, I focused on Community and Economic Development. At the Great Cities Institute, I had wonderful opportunities to work with a community organization in the Pilsen neighborhood, and research the impact of public housing redevelopment in Chicago. Following graduation, I was offered a Project Manager position developing affordable housing for Resources for Community Development (RCD) in the Bay Area. I benefited from a rich network of experienced and dedicated affordable housing professionals that generously shared their skills and encouragement. I was responsible for taking projects from property acquisition to lease-up, and labored to climb a steep learning curve in the process. I am grateful that RCD demonstrates a great amount of trust in their employees and surrounds them with talented individuals that help them complete projects on their own initiative.
After seven years at RCD, I was ready to work in the public sector and involve myself more in housing policy. I worked as Housing Manager at the City of Chico for five years. Again, I was fortunate to be surrounded by extremely knowledgeable and supportive people committed to improving our community. At the City of Chico, I undertook a variety of endeavors, including: housing plans; public presentations; budgeting; drafting loan documents; managing relocation; and program implementation. In addition, I was able to use my real estate experience to take a proactive role in acquiring property and partnering with developers.
I recently moved from Chico to Sacramento to open our Housing Tools office there. I like to play piano, garden, cook, bike, play and watch sports, travel and gaze at all manner of maps.