This was originally published on the Treasury Department blog.
The holiday season is an important time to give back to our communities and lend a helping hand to those who are striving to get through tough times. Yesterday, my fellow Treasury Department officials and I did just that. Secretary Jack Lew, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jessica Milano, and I served breakfast at So Others Might Eat (SOME), a Washington, D.C. based organization helping individuals and families in need. Volunteering at SOME allowed us to see first-hand how organizations like this touch people’s lives. It also provided us a glimpse of how the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is supporting services where they are needed the most.
SOME helps break the cycle of homelessness by offering food, clothing, affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness. The services that SOME provides make a huge difference for individuals and families in this community every day, and it is an example of how the CDFI Fund provides lifelines to communities across the country.
To expand its affordable housing services, SOME received more than $4 million in financing from the OpenDoor Housing Fund. OpenDoor* is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that received financial assistance from the CDFI Fund to spur new investments that would shore up economic development efforts and fund services in underserved neighborhoods.
In 2013 alone, SOME provided 248,875 meals out of its Washington, D.C. kitchen. SOME also provided an additional 184,936 meals through its residential program; 23,514 sets of clothing to homeless men and women; 15,657 medical visits to doctors or dentists through its clinic; and affordable housing to 140 families with 314 children as well as 577 single adults.
Helping out at SOME today was a touching experience, and it reminded me of how many other organizations across the country strive to provide vital community services, such as affordable housing units, workforce training facilities, and overall economic development in urban and rural areas. I’m proud that the CDFI Fund is a leader in providing resources for low-income communities and allowing them access to private investments so that underserved communities can flourish.
Annie Donovan is the Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the U.S. Treasury Department.