New “C19-HOW” fund to boost affordable housing in communities most impacted by COVID-19
BlueHub Capital today announces it has received a $3 million financial guarantee from the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP), a program of LOCUS Impact Investing supported by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and many other philanthropic leaders. The guarantee provides a financial backstop and helps BlueHub launch a new $15 million fund that will finance the construction of deeply affordable housing in communities disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.
The new fund, called the COVID-19 Housing, Opportunity and Wellness (C19-HOW) Fund, will address the devastating and inequitable health and economic impacts that COVID-19 is having on communities where most residents are low-income and Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC). The CIGP guarantee, which promises a payment of up to $3 million on loan losses, enables BlueHub to pilot modifications to loan policies and credit guidelines that expand lending for C19-HOW projects in these communities.
“This funding from CIGP enables BlueHub to be even more innovative with our lending in order to address the long-lasting negative impacts of COVID-19 on low-income communities of color,” said Elyse Cherry, CEO of BlueHub Capital. “The devastating impact COVID-19 has had on low-income communities of color is well-documented. COVID-19 infection and death rates for Latinos and Blacks are close to triple those of whites. Inequitable outcomes result from disproportionate poverty, crowding, employment as essential workers, as well as underlying health conditions. C19-HOW addresses these issues by supporting the creation of quality affordable housing in low-income BIPOC communities.”
C19-HOW serves as nimble financing to help mission-driven developers acquire and develop related parcels and properties. C19-HOW is particularly necessary now, as developers creating projects that benefit low-income residents often have limited equity and liquidity. Additionally, COVID-related reductions in public budgets and increased community need for services have exacerbated these challenges.
“We are thrilled to partner with BlueHub Capital in support of their C19-HOW Fund,” said Sarah Stremlau, President of LOCUS Impact Investing. “As we grow CIGP and test the pool’s ability to unlock community development capital, this is exactly the sort of project we’d like to see – a responsive, innovative, and impactful fund that applies a racial equity lens to the work. We are hopeful that this fund will help improve the lives of community members as well as help affordable housing developers, especially BIPOC and women-led organizations, grow their business and build wealth.”
C19-HOW will focus on communities in California, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. It will also target projects led by people of color and/or women.
The first project funded through C19-HOW is the Salem South River Revitalization Project, an initiative by North Shore Community Development Coalition and North Shore Community Health that will provide affordable housing, access to quality healthcare and public art to Salem’s El Punto neighborhood and historic downtown square. The project acknowledges the historic racial and economic divide between El Punto and the rest of Salem and seeks to bridge the communities by working with long-time residents and offering a major investment in public space.
As part of C19-HOW, BlueHub is piloting a tool that assesses loans’ potential to support racial equity. The tool, called Racial Equity Assessment that is Proactive and Practical (REAPP), was developed by and in consultation with impact measurement and management experts who are BIPOC and/or focused on equitable evaluation. It explores potential projects’ ability to build wealth for people of color, address social determinants of health, and effectively serve BIPOC populations and communities.
About BlueHub Capital
BlueHub Capital is a national nonprofit community finance organization with a 35-year history of building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. Since 1985, BlueHub Capital has invested over $2.2 billion to support low-income communities, creating and preserving over 26,000 units of affordable housing, 13,000 jobs, healthcare services for more than 197,000 patients, education and daycare for more than 70,700 children, and prevented over 1,150 foreclosure-related evictions. To learn more about BlueHub Capital and the impact of its investments, visit bluehubcapital.org.
The Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP) is a new financing tool that pools commitment of financial guarantees to accelerate lending in affordable housing, small business, and climate. By leveraging philanthropic balance sheets for impact, CIGP makes more and new types of community development transactions feasible. The initial guarantors that helped make CIGP possible include The Kresge Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, CommonSpirit Health, Gary Community Investments, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Phillips Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Virginia Community Capital and Weingart Foundation. Learn more about CIGP by watching this short video produced by The Kresge Foundation.