$1.3 Million Deployed Across U.S. Will Help Transform Investment to Support Homeownership for Lower Income Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2012) — Affordable homeownership will become a reality for an estimated 300 low-income families per year, thanks to $1.3 million awarded to local organizations in 10 U.S. cities by NCB Capital Impact’s Cornerstone Partnership. These grants were made possible through funding provided by the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with private matching funds provided by the Ford Foundation.  These grants will build the capacity of 10 organizations to more effectively manage public investment in affordable homeownership.  

The selected organizations include both established and newer programs, and serve urban, suburban and rural housing markets in San Francisco, California, Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Florida, Greater Newark, New Jersey, Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, Summit County, Utah, Burlington, Vermont, Seattle, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

“The work of these organizations will transform the future for hundreds of families in the next two years, and set the foundation for millions of families to realize their dream of homeownership,” said Rick Jacobus, Director of Capital Impact’s Cornerstone Partnership Initiative. “Even more, these programs will increase the number of families served without additional public investment.”

The need for these programs is clear: The current housing crisis continues to hit low-income families hard with millions having entered ownership in ways that were unsustainable. Historically, homeownership has been critical to accessing quality neighborhoods with strong schools and is the primary way individuals with low-income build assets. For this reason, federal, state and local governments spend billions annually on programs intended to promote homeownership. But the overall impact of this investment is still unclear. The Cornerstone Homeownership Innovation Program seeks to demonstrate that the right kind of investment in the right type of local program does have a huge positive impact on communities.

The subgrant awards will fund organizations that serve as exemplary stewards of affordable homeownership programs for lower income families, seeking to preserve affordability over the long term while also offering asset-building opportunities to homeowners. Buyers in these programs have been able to purchase homes at below market rate prices in exchange for accepting that their profit at resale would be limited by a formula designed to keep the home affordable to future low-income buyers.  In making the awards, the Cornerstone Partnership sought funding proposals from organizations that actively maintain ongoing engagement with the assisted homeowners, ensure that affordability controls are effectively enforced, and help prevent mortgage foreclosures or other problems that could jeopardize the public goals of these programs.

Each Subgrantee was awarded $130,000 for the first year, and is required to raise and spend private matching funds equal to that amount. The awardees will use the funds for operations to build their capacity, allowing them to more effectively manage public investment in affordable homeownership. In addition to the monetary award, the organizations will receive direct technical assistance, participate in a Capacity Building Institute and implement new data workflow management software in order to more effectively track program outcomes.  Subgrantees will also participate in a long-term evaluation study led by the Urban Institute to measure the economic and social benefits of affordable homeownership to low-income families.  

NCB Capital Impact’s Cornerstone Homeownership Innovation Program (CHIP) Subgrantees and their programs:

Austin People Trust manages a shared equity portfolio of 185 units.  Recently acquired by Austin Habitat for Humanity, it has become part of that organization.  Together they expect to produce 587 new affordable homes over the next five years.  The People Trust’s program provides green, location-efficient, long-term affordable homeownership in Central Texas (the City of Austin and the surrounding counties of Travis, Williamson, Caldwell, Bastrop and Hays) using shared-equity models.  CHIP funding will be used to support operations and build capacity for stewarding the existing portfolio, as well as growing the portfolio of long-term affordable homes.  

Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) is one of the oldest and largest community land trusts in the country, with over 500 limited equity homes its portfolio.  CHT anticipates adding another 42 new shared equity units over the next five years and managing the resale of 15 to 30 homes per year.  CHIP funding will be used to expand CHT’s capacity for post-purchase stewardship, explore options for expanded partnerships and new funding to add homes to its portfolio, and develop a suite of best practices and tools that will help standardize and streamline the operations of six smaller CLTs in the state of Vermont.  

City First Enterprises, Inc. is a community development organization with a wholly controlled affiliate, City First Homes (CF Homes), which operates a shared equity housing program in Washington, DC.  CF Homes financed its first home in June 2010 and currently stewards 52 permanently affordable homes.  Recently enacted local inclusionary zoning ordinances are leading to the development of hundreds of new affordable units, and CF Homes expects to add 350 new units to its portfolio over the next five years.  CF Homes’ innovative program focuses on creating mixed-income, transit-oriented neighborhoods that will help generations of working families build wealth and successful family outcomes.  CHIP funding will be used to improve stewardship of its existing portfolio and grow the number of units in its portfolio through outreach and additional partnerships

The Community Asset Preservation Corp (CAPC) Consortium is a recent (2011) partnership formed between five non-profits in the area of Greater Newark, NJ (Essex, Hudson, Union and Passaic Counties).  The member organizations have developed or rehabilitated over 400 affordable units; steward over 90 permanently affordable units; and expect to add another 300-400 new units over the next five years.  The purpose of the consortium is to build capacity and create efficiencies by pooling the agencies’ staff and technological resources.  The agencies’ main areas of collaboration will be joint outreach, homebuyer counseling and data tracking, as well as creation of a stewardship program to maintain the affordability of properties over the long term.  CHIP funding will be used to conduct buyer outreach and to develop a stewardship program to implement best practices for preserving affordable homeownership.  

HomeBricks markets, sells and stewards below-market rate homes in California. It currently provides ongoing monitoring of 444 Below Market Rate (BMR) units and provides consulting services in the management of homeownership programs to five cities. HomeBricks will use funding to expand partnerships to an additional three to five California jurisdictions, and expects to bring more than 500 new homes under its management over the next five years.  CHIP funding will be used to advance strategic partnerships, rapidly increase portfolio growth, and to promote standard models and best practices to be shared nationally.

Homestead Community Land Trust currently stewards a growing portfolio of 129 homes in King County, Wash.  Local inclusionary zoning ordinances are in place, and Homestead anticipates adding 150 new units over the next five years.  Homestead is looking to position itself for projected growth of 100 new units per year by 2020.   CHIP funding will be used to advance strategic partnerships, increase core competencies, and rapidly increase portfolio growth.

Housing Partnership, Inc. (HPI) is the lead agency for the South Florida Community Land Trust (CLT) Network, a consortium formed to increase efficiencies, promote best practices, and seek to achieve economies of scale.   The group works within Palm Beach and Broward Counties, and will also work with their statewide Florida CLTs to share results and build capacity.   HPI anticipates adding 235 new CLT homes over the next five years. CHIP funding will allow HPI to develop an innovative “central server” model where five land trusts plus Housing Partnership will share staff and capacity for providing homebuyer education, data tracking, and counseling.  It will also allow it to bring the CLT model quickly to scale.

Long Island Housing Partnership (LIHP) is currently managing predevelopment or construction of 125 new Below Market Rate (BMR) homes, and has stewardship responsibility 477 existing long-term affordable homes in the Long Island, NY region. Recently enacted local inclusionary zoning ordinances are leading to the development of hundreds of new affordable units, and LIHP anticipates adding 293 units to its portfolio over the next five years. CHIP funding will allow LIHP to expand its existing 30-year deed restricted portfolio and stewardship capacity as well as its ability to provide technical assistance to surrounding jurisdictions, with the goal of standardizing and streamlining affordability mechanisms across jurisdictions.

Mountainlands Community Housing Trust (MCHT) is a development organization that currently provides stewardship for 111 homes in Summit County, Utah. Recently enacted local inclusionary zoning ordinances are leading to the development of hundreds of new affordable units, and MCHT anticipates adding 150-200 new ownership units to its portfolio over the next 5 years. CHIP funding will allow MCHT to develop and improve its stewardship capacity for existing homes as well as the new homes coming into its portfolio.  It will also allow MCHT to expand its stewardship services to smaller rural communities in Summit County and to work with neighboring Wasatch County to develop programs that produce affordable units.

The Housing Fund (THF) will use grant funds to build out its new “Our House” shared equity program, including community outreach, homebuyer counseling and building a pipeline of buyers.  THF expects Our House to serve approximately 170 households over five years in Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County, Tenn.  Our House is a very new program, but with considerable funding available for unit subsidies and an ambitious program to increase scale aggressively. CHIP funding will allow for aggressive growth without the loss of stewardship practices.

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About NCB Capital Impact
NCB Capital Impact helps people and communities reach their highest potential at every stage of life. As a national, non-profit community development finance institution, Capital Impact provides financial services and technical assistance to help make high-quality housing, health care, healthy foods, and education more accessible and attainable, and eldercare more dignified and respectful. Capital Impact has used its depth of experience, cooperative approach, and diverse network of alliances to generate over $1.7 billion in critical investments that create a high quality of life for low income people and communities.  www.ncbcapitalimpact.org.

About the Social Innovation Fund:
The Social Innovation Fund is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service that improves the lives of people in low-income U.S. communities.   Through an innovative public-private partnership, the Social Innovation Fund and selected local and national grantmakers co-invest in programs that increase the scale of community-based solutions that have evidence of real impact in the areas of youth development, economic opportunity or healthy futures.  Every Federal dollar invested is matched with private funds, and all programs are rigorously evaluated. As a result, the most effective approaches can be expanded to reach more people in need and key lessons can be captured and broadly shared.  To learn more visit www.NationalService.gov/Innovation

About the Corporation for National and Community Service:
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.