CDFI Impact Blog

 

 

CDFI Fund Programs Reach Far and Wide, Even to the Arctic Circlehttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=42CDFI Fund Programs Reach Far and Wide, Even to the Arctic Circle<div class="ExternalClass4DAD4FD324F64AB78CCA91A94CEB1C13"><p>​​In late October, CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan and I traveled to Alaska to participate in the Annual Conference of the Alaska Federation of Natives and to meet with several organizations that have utilized CDFI Fund programs. To say that Alaska, appropriately nicknamed “The Last Frontier,” is a unique place, would be an understatement. It is common to hear that Alaska is larger in area than California, Texas, and Montana combined, but it is impossible to appreciate that fact without experiencing it first-hand. The sheer size, remoteness, and climate of the state make community development even more challenging. Fortunately, there are organizations on the ground that have seen opportunity, not obstacles, in Alaska’s uniqueness. </p><p>The scale and remoteness that community development organizations face in Alaska was evident from our arrival. To reach our first site, Director Donovan and I took an hour and a half long flight from Anchorage to Kotzebue, a town of 3,200 that is located approximately 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The flight across Alaska’s interior was an appropriate way to be introduced to the state, as most towns and villages in the state are only accessible by plane. Fortunately, local community development organizations, such as Alaska Growth Capital BIDCO (AGC), a certified Native CDFI, are dedicated to reaching the remote corners of the state. </p><p>In Kotzebue, we visited Utuqqanaat Inaat (A Place for Elders), a long term care facility for Alaska Native elders that AGC financed, in part, with New Markets Tax Credits (since 2002, AGC has received three New Markets Tax Credit awards totaling $90 million in allocation authority). At Utuqqanaat Inaat, Alaska Native elders receive culturally appropriate person centered care, including being served traditional foods such as moose and caribou. We sampled some ourselves! New Markets Tax Credits helped AGC bridge a critical gap in financing for a facility that provides Inupiat elders with a chance to live their senior years in a place where the language, food, and culture are more familiar than they would be in a traditional nursing home.</p><p>After seeing Kotzebue, we returned to Anchorage to learn how local organizations have used CDFI Fund awards to address affordable housing challenges in Alaska. There are many unique factors that present barriers to affordable housing in the state. For example, transporting building materials to isolated parts of Alaska and narrow construction windows caused by Alaska’s frigid climate drive the cost of housing construction beyond affordability for many <a href="#Alaskans">Alaskans</a>. Further, the average household energy costs in Alaska are more than twice the national average, costs which are often compounded by a lack of adequate insulation in many existing <a href="#homes">homes</a>. These factors make finding affordable housing challenging for many of Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens. </p><p>In Anchorage, we toured several affordable housing locations that had been financed or developed by nonprofits and Native CDFIs. We visited the Cook Inlet Lending Center, a Native CDFI with a primary mission of increasing access to homeownership. In addition to hearing about Cook Inlet Lending Center’s activities, we saw first-hand many affordable housing sites that its parent company, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority, had developed around Anchorage. The Lending Center and Housing Authority provide Alaskans with an opportunity to overcome the many obstacles to homeownership in the state by providing mortgages through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program and offering down payment assistance loans.</p><p><img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Birchwood Apartments" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/future%20office%20of%20cook%20inlet%20and%20CMF%20housing%20sites%203.jpeg" style="width:300px;" /> We also met with staff from Volunteers of America Alaska, who gave us a tour of affordable housing sites developed and redeveloped with funding that its parent organization, Volunteers of America, received from the Capital Magnet Fund. Volunteers of America has received two Capital Magnet Fund awards totaling $9.5 million since 2010. The two housing developments we toured, Trailside Heights in Anchorage, and Birchwood Apartments in Eagle River, were beautiful, and the stories we heard from residents demonstrate the difference that programs such as the Capital Magnet Fund can make in the lives of families. </p><p> Each family we met in the housing developments was unique, but a common thread was woven through each of their stories. Every resident shared that, while they had their own challenges to overcome, their lives and the lives of their families were better off because they had found a safe and affordable home. Residents expressed that they had better access to essential healthcare services, a chance to raise their children in a safe and supportive environment, and the opportunity to strive to provide a better life for their loved ones because they’d found homes provided by Volunteers for America. </p><p>The stories we heard at Trailside Heights and Birchwood Apartments were inspiring, as were all the sites we visited in Alaska. Staff from every organization that we met acknowledged the unique circumstances they were operating in, but also that they saw an opportunity to utilize CDFI Fund programs to create a better quality of life for the citizens of their state. CDFI Fund programs are flexible enough to allow local organizations to facilitate investments that address needs in the most challenged areas in the country, even in the Arctic Circle. </p><p> <i>Clint Hastings is a Senior Portfolio Manager for the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives</i></p><hr /> <footer> <ol><li id="Alaskans"> <i>“Alaska Rural Homeownership Resource Guide,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. January 2017. http://www.frbsf.org/community-development/files/alaska-rural-homeownership-guide.pdf</i></li><li id="homes"> <i>“2014 Alaska Housing Assessment,” Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. https://www.ahfc.us/efficiency/research-information-center/housing-assessment/ </i></li></ol></footer> </div>Clint Hastings2017-12-13T15:52:00ZLocal Impact42GP0|#ab4fe4dc-3e5a-4bf0-9957-93afe828ea67;L0|#0ab4fe4dc-3e5a-4bf0-9957-93afe828ea67|Alaska;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field;GP0|#a52ce078-0bf5-4ef8-aa4b-0b66902683da;L0|#0a52ce078-0bf5-4ef8-aa4b-0b66902683da|Capital Magnet Fund;GP0|#368ed6d6-d6bb-4a27-ad10-a1a0a87661d8;L0|#0368ed6d6-d6bb-4a27-ad10-a1a0a87661d8|New Markets Tax Credit
The Impact of Community Investinghttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=29The Impact of Community Investing<div class="ExternalClass256A010AF32C409FB6D920527F79F5B7"><p>One of the most energizing aspects of my job as director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is engaging with a diverse array of stakeholders who care about creating economic opportunity in distressed communities and telling them the CDFI story. I find that too often, the innovative and impactful work of CDFIs, CDEs and other organizations served by the CDFI Fund is not as well understood as it should be. In order to spread the word about this amazing work, we are launching a new feature on our public website: Impact Stories.</p><p>Through Impact Stories, we will spotlight the outcomes that CDFI Fund awardees are achieving in communities across the nation. We will showcase the diverse and essential financial services, lending, and investments CDFIs, CDEs, and other awardees provide every day in distressed and underserved rural, urban, and Native American (including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian) communities. </p><p>CDFI Fund awardees help <a href="/Documents/Cake%20Appeal%20NACA%20Impact%20Story%20052517.pdf" target="_blank"> entrepreneurs get off the ground </a>and existing <a href="/Documents/Wild%20West%20Boots%20041917.pdf" target="_blank">small businesses grow their operations</a>. They expand access to <a href="/Documents/REVISED%20Nevada%20Idaho%20CDFI%20CMF%20Impact%20Story%20042717.pdf" target="_blank">affordable housing </a>and homeownership for low-income people. They finance healthcare facilities and other vital community centers that assist vulnerable populations, such as <a href="/Documents/BGP%20Clearinghouse%20CDFI%20Impact%20Story%20040317.pdf" target="_blank">disabled veterans</a>. They create access to safe and affordable financial products for those on the margins of the financial system. They develop communications networks and infrastructure to expand critical community services and enhance economic development <a href="/Documents/NMTC%20GreatWave%20Impact%20Story%20041917.pdf" target="_blank">opportunities</a>.</p><p>Of course, no good impact story should be told without data. And we will be using these impact stories to highlight what we are learning from the ever improving data we collect from our awardees.</p><p>The CDFI Fund needs your help in identifying stories and best practices that are having impact in distressed and underserved communities across the nation. Submit your story suggestions to the CDFI Fund <a href="mailto:lea@cdfi.treas.gov" target="_blank">here</a>. </p><p> <i>Interested in seeing more? <a href="https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREASCDFI/subscriber/new" target="_blank">Sign up to receive CDFI Fund Impact Stories</a> as we release them, or keep an eye on our <a href="/impact/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Impact Blog</a>. And check out our <a href="/Documents/CDFI_7554_YearInReview_2016_FINAL_web%20020617.pdf" target="_blank">FY 2016 Year in Review </a>to learn more about the impact of CDFIs and the CDFI Fund’s programs. Full information about the CDFI Fund’s programs can be found at <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov</a>.  </i></p><p> <i>Annie Donovan is Director of the CDFI Fund.</i></p></div>Annie Donovan2017-05-25T17:00:00ZFramework for the Future29GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532
CDFI Innovation and Impact in the Deltahttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=35CDFI Innovation and Impact in the Delta<div class="ExternalClassD375CE71D6BB4A59B94E4E80578034B8"><p>The Delta region is a very special place in America. Covering more than 250 counties from the tip of Illinois, south to Mississippi, and east into Alabama, the eight-state Delta region is home to ten million people. Its residents are hard-working, resilient, and creative people who care deeply about their communities. The Delta Region is also characterized by persistent and pervasive economic distress—with poverty rates three times the national average and unemployment that is double the national average.</p><p>The CDFI Fund’s programs have played a substantial role in providing access to capital and credit for a variety of critical community needs throughout the Delta region. To date, the NMTC Program has spurred more than $3.3 billion of investment into 345 projects and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have loaned or invested more than $5 billion throughout the region. CDFI Fund investments have supported a variety of affordable housing, small business and entrepreneurship, financial education and counseling, and commercial development in the Delta. For a snapshot of the CDFI Fund’s impact in the region, <a href="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/delta.jpg" target="_blank">click here</a>. </p><p>I have often stated that for the CDFI Fund to be successful in its mission, CDFIs of all types and sizes are needed to address the variety of challenges and obstacles facing communities across the country. The greatest impact can be achieved when CDFIs work in collaboration with a diverse array of organizations in collective pursuit of community and economic revitalization. </p><p>Supporting a diversity of organizations, strategies, and collaborations is critically important in the Delta region. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Delta with certified CDFI Hope Credit Union to see first-hand an array of unique initiatives they have supported in an effort to improve lives in economically distressed parts of the region. Hope Credit Union indicates it has generated over $2 billion in financial and related services for the unbanked and underbanked, entrepreneurs, homeowners, nonprofit organizations, healthcare providers, and other community development purposes. Here is what I saw:</p><hr /><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/bynum.jpg" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Hope Credit Union CEO Bill Bynum outside Moorhead, MS branch.</p><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/social%20suds.png" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Social Suds co-locates key social services at a community facility.</p><p style="clear:both;"> </p><hr /><p> <b>Crosstown Concourse</b> in Memphis, Tennessee has special significance for me in that it was the <a href="/impact/Pages/BlogDetail.aspx?BlogID=7" target="_blank">very first site </a>I toured upon becoming Director of the CDFI Fund. I was there for the project groundbreaking in 2015. It was inspiring to go back this year to see the progress that has been made. Financed with $56 million in NMTCs from multiple CDEs (Mid-City Community CDE, DV Community Investment, Low-Income Investment Fund, SunTrust CDE, MidWest Renewable Capital, and National Trust Community Investment Corporation), Crosstown is a mixed-use redevelopment of a former retail distribution center. Billed as a “vertical urban village,” it will provide one million square feet of retail space (including a grocery store), restaurants, health clinic, charter high school, art center, commercial offices, and affordable housing. At a total development cost of over $290 million, projected community benefits include the creation of at least 500 permanent jobs and the generation of more than $37 million new wages annually in an area experiencing a 32.9 percent poverty rate and an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. To support its strategy of increasing access to the banking system for underserved populations, Hope Credit Union will have a branch located in Crosstown Concourse. The project is an exemplar of what can be achieved when a community comes together, and when CDFIs and CDEs work hand-in-hand.</p><p> <b>My Cup of Tea and The House at Orange Mound.</b><a href="https://www.shopmycupoftea.com/our-story" target="_blank"> The House at Orange Mound </a>is a resource center for women in the Orange Mound community in Southeastern Memphis. Developed in the late 1800s, Orange Mound is one of the oldest African American neighborhood in the United States. The community experienced challenges and decay through the 1970s and 1980s, but community-led revitalization efforts have begun to reinvigorate this area. Working with women from the Orange Mound community, volunteers and staff teach computer literacy, child-rearing education, GED training, job readiness, cooking, sewing, gardening, and other domestic skills to women who have limited knowledge and marginal exposure to home economics, parenting models, and employment. An initiative of the House at Orange Mound, My Cup of Tea is a small business that packages and distributes tea and provides area women job skill training, mentoring and valuable experience running a small business. To enhance economic inclusion opportunities, Hope Credit Union supports Orange Mound efforts by providing financial education and on-site account opening to program participants.</p><p> <b>Social Suds Resource Center</b> is a laundromat managed by the <a href="http://www.smaweb.org/" target="_blank">South Memphis Alliance</a>. The South Memphis Alliance (SMA) opened in 2000 to help organize neighborhood associations in the urban communities of South Memphis. Over time, SMA expanded to serve youth in foster care and families in need. Located next door to the SMA office, <a href="http://www.smaweb.org/our-work/stand-by-me/" target="_blank">Social Suds </a>provides a space for families to receive information from non-profit and government agencies while utilizing the facility. Again, as part of its economic inclusion activities, Hope Credit Union provides financial education and on-site account openings to SMA clients as part of a one-stop model for community services. </p><p>These businesses and projects are but a few of the many community revitalization and economic development initiatives that CDFIs and CDEs support in the Delta region on an ongoing basis. The CDFI Fund is proud to serve as a partner and facilitator in the continuing efforts to invest in community and economic development opportunities throughout the Delta region.</p><p> <i>Annie Donovan is Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund</i></p></div>Annie Donovan2017-09-01T16:00:00ZLocal Impact35GP0|#1df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee;L0|#01df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee|Mississippi;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#7b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb;L0|#07b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb|Credit Unions;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field