While raising capital to provide affordable housing opportunities is our core business, NASLEF member funds also actively provide value-added services to our partners in the industry. Many member funds serve vulnerable populations by investing resources into programs and activities that impact residents’ lives. Member funds have developed philanthropic affiliates and foundations that fund programs that assist residents socially, economically, and educationally.
Examples for 2020 from Member Funds include:
- Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC): MHIC operates a Charitable Contribution budget that starts at $127,000. MHIC also purchases MA Community Investment Tax Credits (CITC) each year, the proceeds of which go directly to eligible CDCs. In 2020 MHIC made $479,450 in charitable contributions including $380,800 in CITC contributions purchasing $190,400 in CITCs.
- The CAHEC Foundation: As an affiliate of CAHEC, the CAHEC Foundation offers wellness and education initiatives to residents living in areas that CAHEC serves. In addition to CAHEC’s current menu of Community Investments grants, the CAHEC Foundation creates opportunities that go beyond affordable housing to help residents receive the critical resources they need to succeed. In 2020, CAHEC and the CAHEC Foundation granted $695,102.
- Merritt Community Capital Corporation: Merritt leads with mission across California. With the generous support of its investors, at the end of 2020 Merritt donated $350k to all of its 82 property partners to help offset some of the pressures that residents are grappling with, providing assistance to nearly 16,000 people. In addition to direct assistance to tenants, Merritt is investing to create a more just, diverse, equitable and inclusive industry. By partnering with organizations like the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH), LISC LA, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), San Diego Housing Federation, and Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH), Merritt supports the major affordable housing internship programs across the state, fostering the industry’s future leaders. Merritt was able to provide over $50,000 in scholarships to local students in 2020 alone, and a cumulative $460,000 over the years.
- Cinnaire staff members developed and launched Cinnaire Cares in 2017 as a companywide 100 percent staff funded and driven charitable program. Cinnaire Cares provides an opportunity for staff members to directly support Cinnaire’s mission by contributing twice monthly to a fund established to benefit staff nominated charities. Since 2017, 35 community serving organizations across Cinnaire’s footprint have been awarded a total of more than $70,000. In addition to contributing to Cinnaire Cares, Cinnaire staff have unlimited paid time off to volunteer their time to serve non-profits and charities that align with their personal missions.
- Evernorth Connections is an initiative launched in 2016 to enhance resident experiences and opportunities by connecting them with outside organizations, resources and activities.
- Digital connectivity: the Connections Program is part of a cross-departmental effort to expand free internet access to more affordable housing residents. Evernorth currently offer free public Wi-Fi in 13 properties, for a total of 441 units. An additional four properties are contracted for Wi-Fi installation, and 9 are under consideration.
- Resident outreach: the Connections Program has been conducting a monthly survey to illuminate the impacts of COVID on affordable housing residents and reporting the results of this survey out to our network.
- Resident input on building design and community-building: the Connections Program, in conjunction with the Development and Project Management teams, conducts one-year post-occupancy surveys with residents to get input on design features and the ways that our buildings can facilitate or inhibit the development of a vibrant community.
- Community Gardens: the Connections Program continues to support a pilot project with the Vermont Community Garden Network to provide support for community gardening at a number of properties. We are working on developing a sustainable community garden program that can be expanded to more of our partners and properties.
- Children’s storytelling/literacy project: The Connections Program has partnered with the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) to provide storytelling and book giveaway events for children who reside in Evernorth properties as well establishing community libraries at the properties.
- St. Louis Equity Fund, Inc.: The St. Louis Equity Fund awarded grant funding for resident services programs in 2020 for the third year. Grants of up to $2,500 were awarded to the Equity Fund’s 501(c)(3) non-profit managing and development partners who demonstrated a need for items and programs such as funds for renovating an onsite beauty salon, activity boxes for senior residents, move-in baskets, catered holiday dinners delivered to resident’s houses and funds to stock a COVID stay safe supply cart. A total of $20,500 was awarded to 19 partners in 2020.
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH’s) philanthropic affiliate, the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation, funds programs targeted to neighborhoods and residents where OCCH has investments in affordable housing. More than $25 million in grants to partners has been awarded since 2012. In 2020, more than $2 million was raised for activities such as economic and rental assistance, scholarships, after-school and summer activities, at-home learning, computers and Wi-fi, senior outreach and engagement, and services for people at risk for homelessness.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a devastating impact on the social and economic well-being of low-income renters. With an eviction crisis looming, OCCH and its investors created the Resident Impact Emergency Fund (RIEF) to assist partners and their residents in rent payments to lessen the financial burdens caused by the pandemic. Contributions benefitted organizations aiding those in need and households struggling to pay rent. Rental assistance payments were made to project owners who agreed to forgive nonpayment of rent and forgo evictions.
- Mission Elevation Program: The Mission Elevation Program was founded and is facilitated by VCDC, and is an extension our dedication and support of the nonprofit network working to make communities vibrant for all residents. Through retreats, private consultation and group sessions, this program gives nonprofits a laser focus on performance challenges and how to overcome them to achieve long-term goals, mission impact and bolster their capacity.
- Vern Henley Special Initiatives Grant: Named for the President, Chairman and CEO of Consolidated Bank and Trust, the first minority-owned and operated bank in the United States, this program give opportunities to nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $8,000 for special initiatives benefiting those residing in affordable housing in our service area. From computer lab equipment to library supplies, career planning programs and playground equipment – this fund is dedicated to enhancing the quality for residents of affordable housing.
Other funding includes:
- Providing homeownership grants
- Funding community programs
- Funding food banks
- Providing scholarship opportunities to residents
- Funding neighborhood development
- Providing funds for tutoring, computer classes, and summer camp for residents’ children
Member funds engage development and management partners by providing opportunities for training and education on a regular basis. Examples include:
- Holding annual affordable housing conferences with industry speakers
- Providing property management training
- Providing individualized training to partners
- Developing training on energy, construction, and asset management
- Providing compliance training to property managers
- Offering a training academy to partners which provides property management and maintenance courses
Member funds recognize that importance of providing technical assistance to partners navigating HUD and Housing Finance Agencies programs. Assistance is given in:
- Understanding and usage of HOME funds
- HUD Section 8 regulations
- Development consulting
- Understanding RAD and mixed-finance funding
- Rural development assistance
- Housing agency programs and funding
Member funds are actively involved in state and federal housing policy issues, engaging lobbyists, and serving on:
- Local housing councils and agencies
- Boards and executive committees of housing trade associations
- Legislative Advocacy groups
Member funds focus on raising capital and providing equity for affordable housing development and preservation. Many funds also offer loan products or operate a Certified Development Financial Institutions Program that offers:
- Predevelopment and acquisitions lending products
- Bridge loan financing
- Gap financing
- Construction loan financing
- Permanent financing
- New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC’s)