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Article Archives: Arkansas

Our House: Providing Hope for the Working Poor

Our House, a nonprofit based in central Arkansas, helps people move from homelessness to transitional housing, and eventually to permanent supportive housing.

Because Our House targets the working homeless, adults living in its shelter or in any of its four housing programs must be willing and able to work. Our House allows families to stay together and provides assistance with long-term needs and planning. Our House is the only program of its type in Arkansas.

In 1988, Our House opened as a 40-bed emergency shelter in the old parish hall of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in downtown Little Rock. Recognizing that housing alone cannot keep a family out of homelessness, Our House began providing other essential services and to help homeless families acquire the skills and support they need to turn their lives around. In 1991, Our House began offering job skills training programs focusing on computer training. The program also provides free childcare for homeless children while their parents work full-time jobs.

In the past decade, Open House added after-school and summer programs for school-aged youth, offering the first such services in the state specifically for homeless children. Our House also co-founded a free clinic for uninsured low-income people. The clinic is located across the street from the Family Housing facilities.

Today, Our House is nationally recognized and it is a model for similar programs across the country.

For more information on how a financial institution might partner with Our House, please contact Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director, at (501) 374-7383 or by e-mail at georgia@ourhouseshelter.org.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Funding for Small Businesses in Arkansas
ACCG Lending, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a group of small-business lending companies working together to assist small-business owners and their community banks with long-term financing options and risk-mitigation tools. ACCG Lending comprises the Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC), the Six Bridges Capital Corporation (6BCC), and the Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation (ACRC).

Founded in 1957, the ACC has helped launch new economic development opportunities for businesses across the state. Since its inception, the family of companies has provided more than $385 million in capital to small businesses in Arkansas. As an SBA and USDA Preferred Lender, ACC partners with numerous sources to mitigate the risks associated with providing capital to businesses. In 2002, ACC established the Heartland Renaissance Fund, a designated Community Development Entity (CDE) that is active in the New Markets Tax Credit industry and has received three allocation awards (totaling $140 million) from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Qualified investments into designated CDEs such as the Heartland Renaissance Fund provide investors with federal tax credit opportunities and provide capital to further spur economic development within federally designated low-income areas.

6BCC, established in 1989, is a statewide provider of Small Business Administration 504 loans. Through the use of long-term financing, 6BCC encourages economic development by giving small businesses the opportunity to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization. The program’s low down-payment requirements contribute to more operating cash available for operations of the small business.

In 1998, ACCG Lending created the ACRC as another financing tool to promote economic development and strengthen communities. In 2010, the ACRC was designated as a Community Development Financial Institution, allowing it to pursue federal grants or other low-cost sources of capital, which are then deployed in underserved markets across the state.

For more information on investment and lending opportunities, and on how your bank can partner with ACCG Lending, contact C. Sam Walls, chief executive officer, at (800) 216-7237, or visit the ACCG Lending Web site.
[Community Developments Investments, Spring 2011]

Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/HOPE Community Credit Union Offers Opportunity to Help Rebuild
Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE) is a partner for banks seeking to provide assistance in communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the months since the hurricanes, cleanup and relief efforts continue, but increasingly the focus is shifting to rebuilding and planning for recovery of the affected areas. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed or heavily damaged, displacing families, and disrupting lives. Banks can play a large and vital role in the rebuilding process.

ECD/HOPE can bring proven affordable housing, small business lending, and community development expertise to the victims of the hurricanes, as well as, participating financial institutions. ECD/HOPE is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, with offices throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. ECD/HOPE is a nonprofit certified community development financial institution working to strengthen communities, build assets, and improve lives in economically distressed areas of the mid-South. It does this by providing financial and technical assistance to firms, entrepreneurs, homeowners and community development projects, and by forging strategic partnerships across the public, private sectors, and banks. Since its founding in 1994, ECD/HOPE has generated more than $200 million in financing and assisted more than 13,000 people in economically-distressed communities in the region.

For more information on investment and lending opportunities and how your bank can partner with ECD/HOPE, contact Bill Bynum, chief executive officer, at (601) 944-1100.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Spring 2006]

Southern Bancorp Invests in the Community
Southern Bancorp is a $500-million development bank holding company that works to transform rural economies by stimulating investments in people, jobs, businesses, and real property. Formed in 1986 with a mission to improve the future of rural Arkansas, Southern has expanded its reach into the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta - one of the nation's most impoverished regions. Southern's family of companies offers a full line of financial products and development services to residents, including bank credit, housing development, small business assistance, "nonbank" lending, work force training, asset building, and advocacy for the poor. Financial institutions can support the work of Southern Bancorp by making a deposit into one of its three FDIC-insured financial institutions. The Community Deposit account is a certificate of deposit that pays competitive market rates and may qualify for the CRA credits for the investing institution. Deposits are re-invested in rural communities in the form of development loans that help borrowers start or expand small businesses, purchase homes, and grow crops. As one of the few rural CDFI organizations, Southern uses deposits to fund development loans in distressed communities throughout the region. Direct investments into one of its three affiliated nonprofit organizations are also available.

For more information, contact Ben Steinberg at (870) 816-1148 or visit www.southernbancorpinc.com.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2002]