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Community Developments Investments (August 2012)
This Just In ...
OCC’s Four Districts Report on New Opportunities for Banks
The Corporation for Supportive Housing–Los Angeles: A Fund for Stalled Real Estate
The Corporation for Supportive Housing–Los Angeles (CSHLA) is an affiliate of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). CSH is a community development financial institution with a mission to provide permanent housing, with support services, to prevent and end homelessness (see “Corporation for Supportive Housing: Helping the Homeless Live With Dignity” in the February 2012 edition of Community Developments Investments). CSH views permanent housing as the most viable means of eliminating homelessness. Affiliates have access to funding for programs from the national organization.
The Los Angeles program has been successful during the last several years with the establishment of three loan funds and the creation of 500 units of supportive housing and 200 units of affordable housing. The most recently established fund, the Los Angeles Supportive Housing Recovery Initiative, has four partners, including the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and is targeted at projects that have been stalled as a result of the real estate collapse and reductions in public funding resources. It has been used to reinvigorate more than $8 million in loans for multifamily supportive housing developments and is a model for reviving a frozen market. The fund, however, still needs more investors.
For more information regarding the fund and other CSHLA programs, contact Neil McGuffin, Senior Program Manager, at email@example.com.
Community Services Unlimited: Bringing Quality Food to Los Angeles at Affordable Prices
Community Services Unlimited (CSU) is a community-based nonprofit organization that serves South Central Los Angeles with several programs that promote equitable, healthful, sustainable, and self-reliant communities. One of CSU’s most successful programs is the Village Market Place. Much of South Central Los Angeles is considered to be a “food desert” with limited sources of fresh food and an overabundance of fast-food operations. CSU conducted a community food assessment in 2003 that found that the primary obstacles to healthy food habits in the area are high cost and limited transportation. The organization then set out to implement a distribution program that would provide high-quality food at affordable prices locally. The result of CSU’s efforts is the Village Market Place.
The Village Market Place, which sells and distributes healthy food grown on its urban mini-farms or by local farmers, comprises two Community Farm Stands and the Farm Fresh Produce Bag program. The Produce Bag program provides bags of food at affordable prices to residents and others who subscribe and pay in advance for fresh fruit and vegetables weekly. Subscribers pick up their bags at the Farm Stands or at other designated locations each Thursday.
CSU also provides classes in gardening at its urban farm sites for residents and local schools. In addition, it offers internship programs for local at-risk youth at the secondary and post-secondary levels, providing management and financial education skills along with its core healthy-food curriculum. CSU recently expanded the Village Market Place to two new locations, a county hospital and a large health clinic. The expansion allowed the organization to reach even more residents.
CSU is now soliciting support for the purchase of electronic benefits transfer machines to enable low-income customers to make purchases with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards.
For more information regarding CSU, contact Executive Director Neelam Sharma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthy Food Financing Initiative Announced in the Alabama Black Belt
The Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO) announced a new tool to assist in the creation of entrepreneurial small-business opportunities for community-driven artisan foods in “food deserts.” The Healthy Food Fund provides a nontraditional source of financing for women and minority entrepreneurs who focus on hunger relief and healthy food options in rural areas. The loan fund provides below-market-rate loans ranging from $5,000 to $80,000 with flexible repayment terms.
The fund is intended to support ongoing economic development efforts and to create or preserve jobs. The fund is also helping to make the Alabama Black Belt a stronger market for entrepreneurs who are creating healthy-food products, to expand the number of food outlets, and to better equip corner stores and farmers markets that bring produce and less-processed foods to rural towns. The new fund does not compete with existing funding sources but is designed to enhance the financial services already available to small businesses.
The initial funding pool of $220,000 was supplied by HERO and Regions Bank. HERO’s loan fund is actively seeking additional loan capital. The fund is managed by HERO, a local, grass-roots nonprofit group that is a HUD Certified Comprehensive Housing Counseling Agency, a HUD Certified Nonprofit, and a Community Housing Development Corporation.
For more information, contact Pamela Dorr at (334) 624-0842 or email@example.com.
Butterfly Foundation Receives Healthy Food Financing Initiative Grant
The Butterfly Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Spartanburg, S.C., was awarded funding under the fiscal year 2011 Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The foundation partnered with the Hub City Farmer’s Market, the city of Spartanburg, the Spartanburg Development Corporation, and the Mary Black Foundation to create the Northside Healthy Food Hub. The hub is a hybrid business that will help create jobs, contribute to economic growth in the Northside community, and provide access to healthy foods and groceries in a community lacking healthy food options. Funds will be used to create a permanent home for the Hub City Farmer’s Market, a catering and teaching kitchen, and retail space where vendors can sell produce and other goods throughout the year. There also will be space for classrooms, a community garden, and a café. The project is expected to be self-sustaining within five years and to create 23 jobs for the community.
The Butterfly Foundation also partnered with the city of Spartanburg and the Mary Black Foundation to implement the Culinary Job Training Program, which is designed to help prepare unemployed and underemployed adults for careers in the food industry.
For more information about the Butterfly Foundation’s programs and services, contact Liberty Canzater, Executive Director, at the Butterfly Foundation at 185 S. Liberty St., Spartanburg, SC 29306; Liberty@butterfly-sc.com; or (864) 582-4146.
HFFI Serves Up Community Development Opportunities in the Midwest
IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant in Chicago, Ill., was among the recipients of funding from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) in September 2011. IFF received a $3 million grant and is using the award to leverage more than $25 million in additional capital. The lender will invest the combined funds in food-related projects in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The initial emphasis will be on full-service, for-profit grocery stores in “food deserts” in the metropolitan areas of Chicago; Milwaukee, Wis.; Dubuque and Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; and East St. Louis, Ill., where IFF has developed a pipeline of potential projects. Over time, IFF will finance and, where appropriate, directly develop a range of both for-profit and nonprofit retail food outlets as well as other types of food-related businesses, including rural business models.
IFF intends to work with one or more national community development financial institution (CDFI) partners to establish a fund for grocery-store lending across the Midwest. To share risk and stretch its capital further, IFF will seek the participation of other CDFIs, community banks, its regional and national bank partners, and foundations. Banks and foundations will be able to invest in the fund, and local or regional investors will be able to target funds geographically.
If you are interested in learning more about the fund, please contact Trinita Logue at (312) 596-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Statewide CDFI Expanding Its Reach
The Opportunity Resource Fund (ORF) is a 26-year-old nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans and technical support to nonprofit organizations and small businesses throughout Michigan. Loans to nonprofits are for affordable housing, community facilities, and working capital. Loans to small businesses range from $10,000 to $200,000 and may be used for fixed assets or working capital. Formerly known as the Michigan McGehee Interfaith Loan Fund, ORF has provided more than $30 million in financing that has helped to develop more than 2,400 units of affordable housing, create or retain more than 500 jobs, and provide child-care facilities for 125 children. Investors in ORF include banks, several Roman Catholic religious orders, and many individuals. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently contributed $3 million to ORF as permanent capital.
ORF is implementing a three-year strategic plan to double its total assets to $20 million by the end of 2013. ORF is raising funds from investors to finance a large pipeline of affordable housing and small business projects. In addition, ORF is creating a new initiative to make 30-year, fixed-rate loans to people with damaged credit histories for the purchase of homes in Michigan neighborhoods targeted for Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. Banks can invest in ORF, refer prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, structure ORF into financing packages in which the bank would like to participate, and provide grants and in-kind donations.
For more information, see ORF’s Web site or contact President/CEO Christine Coady Narayanan at (517) 372-6001 in Lansing or (313) 964-7300 in Detroit.