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Affordable Housing: Solid Partnerships and a Foundation of LIIF’s Work 

Written by Low Income Investment Fund

LIIF has a longstanding history of innovative capital deployment that supports the expansion of the housing supply. While we have invested significant amounts to produce and preserve housing, we continued to grapple with a persistent housing crisis that significantly burdened Black, Latino, and other people and communities of color. As we embarked on our strategic planning journey, we recognized producing units was not enough. We needed a strategy that preserved affordable housing and addressed the systemic racism that encouraged the dismantling of Black and Latino communities. In order to make true impact we needed to create and leverage strategic partnerships.   

One of those partnerships included our joint venture with National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT) and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF). Through this partnership we are able to provide the debt and equity capital mission-aligned developers need to build equitable, opportunity-rich communities. An example of this partnership producing the impact we intended is with SAHF member National Housing Trust (NHT). In 2017, the residents of The Villages of East River organized through the Positive Change Tenants Association and exercised their rights to purchase the expiring Housing Credit property under Washington, D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) law. The residents selected NHT Communities and IBF Development to help them realize their vision of a much-improved and better-managed place to call home. LIIF provided a $6.4 million bridge loan to NHT Communities to cover a portion of the acquisition and carrying costs associated with the 202-unit scattered-site affordable housing preservation project. NAHT provided the LIHTC investment that will be part of the construction and permanent financing package for the project.  

Our partnerships made clear our need to support a holistic approach to community development. Investing in the broader ecosystem – the civic infrastructure – residents need to thrive. Investing in projects that include resources like space for child care or retail that directly serve the residents, both as customers and family-serving businesses.  

In Atlanta, the heart of LIIF’s southeast region, a $4.5 million leverage loan and $8.5 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation were provided to the Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC) for the Front Porch project. Located along the Auburn Avenue corridor, Front Porch comprises 36 units of mixed-income residential housing, bringing much-needed commercial and retail space for Black entrepreneurs. Developed by HDDC under their community-driven Sweet Auburn Green & Equitable District plan, the project will spur investment while fighting the deleterious effects of gentrification.   

A key to preserving a culturally rich neighborhood is through community ownership. Supporting strategies that cultivate ownership for families living in highly competitive markets, such as New York City, is vital to our progress. In New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, LIIF deployed a $4.1 million construction loan for an affordable homeownership project that also utilized the NYC Department of Housing and Development’s Affordable Neighborhood Cooperative Program (ANCP), with Enterprise Community Loan Fund as the lead lender. The development will provide affordable homeownership opportunities in one of Manhattan’s most expensive neighborhoods, and will include a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, plus a 3,500-square-foot ground-floor retail space leased to commercial tenants selected with input from the residents. The structure will include sustainable features, such as energy-efficient mechanical systems, natural daylight in corridors and energy-saving thermal insulation.  

In our home base of California, we have expanded into new territories through our partnership with Lift to Rise through the We Lift Coachella Valley Housing Catalyst Fund Initiative. The goal is 10,000 affordable units.

LIIF’s work as a leader in the CDFI industry has evolved over the years. We meet new challenges that defy easy solutions but inspire our ongoing commitment as a source of funding for affordable housing in tandem with innovative approaches to address the unique needs of the communities we serve. Our work across the country has roots that extend for decades in the past, creating a solid foundation for what we do now and in the future.  

Affordable Housing