ALLENTOWN, Pa. - City Center Allentown and Lafayette College are coming together to launch a first-of-a-kind program to help people get into real estate. 

Yusuf Dahl's life story took him from prison in Milwaukee to Princeton University, and now he wants to help others do the same. 

"The goal of this program is to create a pathway to real estate entrepreneurship for people who have historically been excluded," Dahl said.

The Real Estate Lab's home is right on 6th and Linden streets, donated by City Center. The 10-week program will teach people how to acquire, rehab, and maintain real estate.

"This program explicitly builds on the strength of community residents and helps them redirect and understand how to translate that energy and hustle that they already have to a more productive purpose," Dahl said.

"We're working with a group of local banks that are going to create a loan pool that will provide some of the capital for the purchases, and we're going to be providing some private capital as an investment," said JB Reilly, City Center's CEO.

City Center created the Allentown Neighborhood Innovation Fund, which will pool capital from community leaders to invest in participants.  To start it off, City Center put in $1 million.

"We're proposing... a model that will empower these folks to take ownership of their communities and operate from the inside out," Dahl said.

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